1. Jorge Garbajosa
In the summer of 2006, Raptors’ nation had renewed hope. Bryan Colangelo replaced the worst general manager in the organization’s history, and he wasted little time putting his stamp on the team. First, Colangelo drafted Andrea Bargnani. Then, he went looking in Israel for American international star Anthony Parker.
Spain produced some quality players through their national team. Toronto already had one young Spaniard in point guard Jose Calderon, and Colangelo added 6-9 Jorge Garbajosa, another Spaniard as an international free agent.
After winning 47 games, Garbajosa, Chris Bosh, and the Raptors returned to the playoffs after four years of futility. Jorge would play a big role in that turnaround. Playing in 67 games as a rookie, he averaged 8.5 points and 4.9 rebounds coming off the bench before claiming a starting role.
Jorge Garbajosa saw his Toronto Raptors career cut short.
Disaster would strike the hard-working Spaniard in March 2007, when he broke his left fibula, dislocated his ankle, and suffered ligament damage. The injury meant he missed the 2007 first-round playoff series the Raptors lost to New Jersey.
He would require further surgery in his recovery process, limiting him to seven games in the 2007-08 season. He was bought out of the final year of his contract.
But during his short time in Toronto, Garbajosa was a fan favorite. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie team in 2007. He was a player we never got to see reach his full potential in the NBA. His short stay in a Raptors’ uniform was sad because as a fan, you know he would have improved considerably.