Quick Intro: Toronto Raptors History
A quick intro into the history of the Toronto Raptors sees them as the first Canadian NBA team, along with the Vancouver Grizzlies to be in Canada since the Toronto Huskies in 1946-1947. It has been a team that has struggled to succeed, but has persevered as the only remaining NBA team in Canada.
A nation-wide contest gave them the name "Raptors" largely because of the movie "Jurassic Park". Isaiah Thomas was the first General Manager of the team and selected Damon Stoudemire from the University of Arizona. The first game was a success with a 94-79 victory over the New Jersey Nets, but the success was short lived. They finished with just a 21-61 record in their inaugural season. By the 1997-1998 season, the team saw a change in ownership. They made several trades and ended up as the youngest team in the NBA. Despite a 16-66 record, things started to look up.
In 1998, the Raptors traded their fourth pick in the draft, Antawn Jamison, to the Golden State Warrior for Vince Carter. Carter immediately became a star thanks to his highlight-reel dunks, and he, along with Tracy McGrady led the team to their first playoff appearance the next year.
Carter's dunking ability won him the 2000 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, and attracted many new fans in Toronto. At the end of that season though, McGrady was ready to leave the team so he could have more of the spotlight. The Raptors traded him to the Magic in a sign-and-trade deal. In 2001, the Grizzlies moved out of Canada, leaving Toronto as the only team north of the border. The team looked good at the All-Star break with a 29-21 record, but then Carter suffered from tendinitis in his knees, forcing him to miss the remainder of the season. The Raptors failed to make the playoffs, and fell into another series of tough seasons.
In 2003, the Raptors drafter Chris Bosh with the fourth overall pick. By the next year, Carter demanded a trade, and Bosh was left as the face of the franchise. Finally in the 2006-2007 season, the Raptors made it back to the playoffs, winning 47 games that year and securing a three-seed in the Eastern Conference along with winning their division for the first time.
In 2009-2010, they contended for a spot in the playoffs all season, but late in the year, fell to the Bulls, who jumped over them to secure the final playoff spot. The Raptors now face the possibility that Chris Bosh will leave via free agency. The Raptors have had their share of highlights and star players, but they have not yet been able to become a contender. A typical expansion team story.