The Toronto Raptors have always been a franchise that looks to all corners of the globe in order to put together the best 15-man roster possible. Toronto has been a haven for some of the best African and European talent in the world who wish to ply their trade in North America.
Toronto’s roster at the moment is led by British-born OG Anunoby and Cameroonian Pascal Siakam, all while Masai Ujiri (who is Nigerian, Kenyan, and British-born) oversees things. Basketball is a global game, and the Raptors are the league’s best example.
The Raptors have routinely gone to Europe in order to locate franchise cornerstones. Many of the high draft picks they’ve accrued over the years have been used on talent from this region. These players have since taken it upon themselves to rewrite Toronto’s franchise record books.
These three players stand out as the most impactful arrivals from across the Atlantic the Raptors have had in their franchise history. Be it through a low-risk free agency signing or careful scouting, Toronto has a fairly high success rate when it comes to plundering talent.
Top 5 European-born players in Toronto Raptors history.
5. Rasho Nesterovic (Slovenia)
While Toronto continued to shuffle centers in and out of the starting lineup in Chris Bosh’s formative years, one of the few who managed to perform well in the post-Antonio Davis era was the wily veteran Nesterovic. The godfather of Luka Doncic, Rasho carved out a respectable NBA career.
While more well-known for his exploits with the Timberwolves and Spurs, Nesterovic averaged 6.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game in three seasons with the Raptors. He was by no means a game-changer, but he was a worthwhile rebounder who played on some good Raptors teams.
Toronto Raptors: Andrea Bargnani was a solid scorer.
4. Andrea Bargnani (Italy)
While the 7-0 Bargnani is remembered infamously by some Raptors fans due to the fact he never lived up to the billing as the No. 1 overall pick. However, Toronto managed to milk plenty of value out of one of the best scorers that ever suited up for this franchise.
From 2008-09 to 2011-12, Bargnani averaged 18.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game with solid efficiency. While not the future Hall of Famer that Toronto’s front office thought they were getting with the top pick, it’s hard to look at his decade long-career in the NBA and declare him a massive bust considering his numbers.