The Toronto Raptors qualified for the playoffs in 13 of their first 27 seasons. They have been a fixture in the postseason for the last decade, but that was not always the case. Before Kyle Lowry started the run in 2014, the Raptors were in the lottery for five straight years and nine of 11 years on the bounce.
Fans should never take success for granted. Qualifying for the playoffs is hard, and going on a deep run is more difficult. Some players never even play a postseason game in their career.
Who are the best players that have missed the playoffs with the Raptors? Here is a look at their all-time starting five that failed to reach the postseason in Toronto.
Raptors’ all-time starting 5: Players who never made playoffs in Toronto
PG: Damon Stoudamire
The expansion Raptors used their first draft pick in franchise history to select Stoudamire seventh overall in 1995, and they immediately inserted the 5-10 guard as their starter and leading scorer. It was his team, and Stoudamire answered that challenge. He won Rookie of the Year in 1996 and averaged over 20 points per game during his second NBA season.
The Raptors won a total of 51 games, but fans cannot blame that on Stoudamire, as he averaged 19.6 points, 9.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.5 steals in 40.9 minutes per game during his only two full seasons in Toronto.
The Toronto Raptors never won with Damon Stoudamire.
Midway through their third season, the Raptors traded Stoudamire to the Trail Blazers in a six-player blockbuster that saw two first-round picks come back to Toronto. His production dropped off with the Blazers, but he helped Portland make the playoffs six straight years, including two conference finals appearances.
Damon Stoudmire, who is now a college coach, was one of the first great Raptors, but he never made the playoffs in Toronto. It was not until their fifth season in the league that the Raptors made their first postseason appearance, meaning that the club’s formative years were built o struggle.