5 players the Toronto Raptors chose to hold onto way too long

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 21: Malachi Flynn #22 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 21: Malachi Flynn #22 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Raptors are a team that has built a championship out of loyalty and internal development. Rather than chase some of the big names in free agency, the Raptors’ core is often made up of players they drafted, developed, or brought in with a very cheap deal in free agency.

Due to their geographic challenges, the Raptors have often needed to ensure that all of their best players are cared for and kept around longer than most teams would retain them. However, this philosophy has often led to them keeping players past their sell-by date.

Be it keeping veterans to the point where their trade value diminished to nothing or continuing to pray for a youngster to break out and become a star, these players went from integral parts of the Raptors to players the fanbase spurred on over the course of their tenure.

5 players the Toronto Raptors held on to for too long

5. Joey Graham

Selected just one pick before Danny Granger and well before All-Star David Lee and Monta Ellis in the 2005 NBA Draft, Graham never developed into the defensive force on the wing that many were expecting. However, this was by no means due to a lack of trying on Toronto’s part.

Graham managed to stick around for four seasons in Toronto, never averaging over 20 minutes per game or 7.7 points per game in any of those seasons. Still, his athleticism and defense kept convincing some thin rosters to take gambles on him, even if they did not work out.

The Toronto Raptors never made Joey Graham a star.

Graham had his chance to prove the Raptors wrong when he joined the Nuggets in the 2009 season, but he fell flat on his face and averaged just 4.2 points per game. The jumper never came around, though the Raptors certainly afforded him many chances.

Graham is just one name in a long line of mid-2000s Raptors picks that never quite became the stars they were billed as. In Graham’s case, it consisted of watching some gnarly basketball as a defense-first player tries and fails to score consistently in the pros.