The Toronto Raptors have one of the best front offices in the league. Masai Ujiri and his staff have uncovered a ton of hidden gems, including Pascal Siakam in the late first round and signing Fred VanVleet as an undrafted free agent. Toronto made the playoffs just five times in 18 years before Ujiri arrived, and they been there in eight of the last nine years, including winning the championship in 2019.
No team or executive has a perfect track record. In their 28 seasons as a franchise, the Raptors have plenty of misses from failed draft picks to free agent signings that did not work out.
Every failed move hurts, but some sting worse than others. There is nothing worse than landing a key contributor only to give up on that player too soon and watch him blossom somewhere else. Here are seven players that the Raptors let leave Toronto before they reached their peak.
7 Players Toronto Raptors gave up on too soon:
7. P.J. Tucker
Fans may forget that the Raptors drafted Tucker in the second round in 2006. The 6-5 forward played three seasons at the University of Texas, including a breakout junior year where he averaged 16.1 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.8 steals per game as he led his team to the Elite Eight.
Still, Tucker was an undersized four and viewed by many as a man without a position in the NBA.
Even the Raptors were unsure. They signed him to a minimum contract before cutting him in March of his rookie season. Tucker played in just 17 games for Toronto, limited to primarily mop-up duty. He even spent time in the G League but failed to impress, so the Raptors decided to move on.
P.J. Tucker could have helped the Toronto Raptors.
Tucker spent the next five years playing overseas before signing with the Suns as a free agent in 2012. The 6-5 forward has gone on to be a key 3-and-D wing for six playoff teams, including helping the Bucks win the title in 2021 and assisting the Raptors in reaching the second round in 2017 in a short-lived second stint with the team.
Tucker could have been an important piece for Toronto for over a decade, but the Raptors gave up on the 21-year-old rookie far too soon.