Michael Bradley, Villanova (2001, #17)

Younger Raptors fans might be familiar with the Joey Graham/Danny Granger “debate” of 2004, where the Raptors passed up on the Pacer twice. Three years before that in the 2001 draft, the debate was between Zach Randolph and Michael Bradley, with Randolph’s attitude problems being the main negative against him. Marty Burns from SI called it:

Seeking insurance in case Antonio Davis leaves or Charles Oakley gets traded, the Raptors went for size and took Michael Bradley, a 6-foot-11 forward from Villanova, with the No. 17 overall pick. Someday, however, they might regret passing on Randolph.

Bradley ended up being a below average garbage-man. Like a poor man’s Kris Humphries.

Joey Graham, Oklahoma State (2005, #16)

Built like a bull, but with a hand-eye coordination of panda and the vision of a bat. Yes, the Granger story has been told a thousand times and rightfully so. Some draft experts still maintain that it was a close call between Graham and Granger, here’s how Draft Express described one of his college games:

There was no doubt from the very start that Graham wasn’t going to settle for single digit scoring, as he came out looking to take his team on his back, taking a lot of shots early but only starting the game 1-6 from the field. The first half wasn’t really one to remember in terms of showing off his wing skills. Most of his points came from posting up his man in the paint, scoring off offensive rebounds and getting to the line.

Graham took the ball the ball strong on the perimeter against the flat footed Radenovic, palmed the ball and skied through the air and then finished beautifully off the glass on his way down using his strength. Graham refused to be denied at the end of the game as well, and scored what could have been the game winning basket with a borderline offensive foul bullying his way to the hoop.

His NBA career was basically his college career, except that when the competition got better, Graham didn’t.

Rafael Araujo, BYU (2004, #8)

Too depressing to talk about. You know the story, Iguodala was right there and Babcock instead selected a fat roll of toilet paper. And not the good smooth kind either, but the one made out of rotten shredded wheat. Funny part about this pick is that EVERYONE in the world except Rob Babcock knew that Araujo was going to be a dud. Here’s the highlight of his short, fat career.

He also shattered a backboard later in Brazil, but that’s the backboard saying it would rather die than get scored on by Araujo.

Chris Jefferies, Fresno St. (2002, #20/trade)

Raptors selected Rush at #20 to trade him to the Lakers for Chris Jefferies. Moaning about the 20th pick seems peevish, but the 2002 draft was full of serviceable players in the late first and second rounds, check out some of the names selected after Rush: Tayshaun Prince, John Salmons, Carlos Boozer, Matt Barnes, Luis Scola and Ronald Murray. Jefferies’ is best remembered for always looking like he had just smoked a honey blunt. I’ll leave it to ESPN to report Jefferies’ skill:

One GM compared Jefferies to a young Scottie Pippen because of his ball-handling skills for a small forward.

That comparison would have been totally valid if Scottie Pippen was a lazy bastard who, instead of having a passion for defense, had one for reaching Level 8 in Super Mario.

Charlie Villanueva, UConn (2005, #7)

This is actually a good WTF, and perhaps Babcock’s best move. I remember Raptors fans yelling at Rob Babcock at Bluejays games to pick the four-fingered Gerald Green, but Babcock stuck to his guns and selected Villanueva with the 7th pick. Let’s track Villanueva’s impact on Raptors personnel:

Villanueva for TJ Ford
TJ Ford for Jermaine O’Neal
Jermaine O’Neal for Shawn Marion
Shawn Marion for Hedo Turkoglu
Hedo Turkoglu for Leandro Barbosa
Leandro Barbosa for …..the saga continues.

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28 Responses to “Five Raptors picks that made you go “WTF?””

  1. LinuxFTW

    “He also shattered a backboard later in Brazil, but that’s the backboard saying it would rather die than get scored on by Araujo.”


    • Ted S.

      Awesome article.

      My only gripe: toilet paper actually has an important purpose. Hoffa wasn’t worth a sheet of two-ply.

  2. ezz_bee

    Arse, what’s the deal with the Phil Jackson photos? Do you find them funny? Are you man crushing on the big zen? Not saying I mind, it just seems a little random.

    • Arsenalist

      Hey man, I’m just trying to get through the summer.  I find Phil Jackson funny, that’s all.


      Nothing is random about Phil Jackson. This photo series only further cements his greatness.

      I am convinced the Dos Equis Man is based on Jax. Think about it.

      Phil Jackson would feel at home in any setting, at any function, at any level. He can probably discuss any topic at length and argumentatively crush you. His stories would top any half baked Hangover caper you and I could come up with. Income, whip, lady friend, connections,looks wouldn’t matter; his mere presence would turn your pee into estrogen and ladies would flock to him even if they never found a man attractive in the past.

      Look at that photo. He owns the camera! He’s bigger than the beach, the mountains, bigger than life! The sea crushes at his feet!  Jax cannot be denied: he TOLD MJ what to do, he told Kobe and Shaq what to do, he bagged the Dr.’s daughter, he owns Red, he played in NY, he’s infiltrated RR’s posts…..it never ends. 

  3. Matt Bracken

    Good read and some terrible picks.  My only beef is that even if we drafted a Zach Randolph there is no chance in hell he sticks with the Raptors, or at least no chance in hell is happy in Toronto.  But that is just an uneducated guess on my part.  The Raptors have done well in the draft considering they are a perceived crappy landing spot for many top youngsters.

    If the new CBA addresses anything I hope it becomes more like the NHL or MLB system where we keep young players until at least 27 or 28 relatively easily, during a prime run of an NBA career so we don’t have to either a) lock them up with a huge overpay for 10 years or b) just lose them period to UFA.

  4. Mack North

    You gave Michael Bradley way too much credit calling him a poor man’s K Hump. More like a living-under-the-Gardiner-too-smelly&grimy-to-even-beg-for-food-from-the-rats man’s K Hump.

  5. Tim W.

    I hated the Villanueva pick then and I still hate it.  Villanueva was a slightly better rebounding version of Bargnani, and incredibly poor defensive big man who is allergic to the paint and coasts for the majority of the game.  Yes, they got Ford for him, but I was as big a critic of Villanueva when he was a Raptor as I am of Bargnani right now.  

    • L.K

      Just don’t spend your whole life hating the Villanueva pick, there are plenty of other things out there to enjoy. 🙂

  6. Raps Loyalist

    Great but painful article

    The 2005 draft was an absolute disaster! Picking CV when we already had Bosh at the 4 WTF! still hate thinking about that pick to this day.   Bynum or Fry would have been so much better/logical. When Granger fell to us I was beside myself with joy thinking there was no way even injury concerns would stop us from taking such a natural scorer in the late teens. Graham was and remains a flop.  Babcock was such a brutal GM that he makes BC look like a god send in comparison (even though he made that god awful JO trade that cost us Hibbert.)  BC should have moved Bosh for Miami’s second overall pick in 2008 and taken a scorer like Gordon or Mayo.  That would have given us a chance at rubio or curry a year later (not that I don’t like DD)

    Bargs over Aldridge and Bosh over Wade should make this list as honorable mentions.

    • Arsenalist

      Naah…was riding the high of Carter the year before, and was pumped about getting Antonio Davis earlier in the draft.  That was considered a pretty weak draft and Radojevic was going to be a bonus if he panned out.  Personally, I wasn’t expecting anything out of that pick.

      • Franklinb

        Not expecting?  Really?  The ’99 Draft was perhaps the deepest in NBA History.  Fourteen players are still in the league.  Plus Francis, MacCulloch, Szczerbiak, K. Thomas.   Rado was the twelfth pick.  Following him included:  Maggette (13), Artest (16), Posey (18), Foster (21), Thomas (22), George (24), Kirilenko (24), Ginobili (57).  Add Brand, Baron, Rip, Marion, Andre M., Odom, Terry.  No true centre, but maybe the best 15 in one year.

  7. wburroughs

    They actually make or last 3 picks – Derozan, Davis and Valanciunas – look good. 

  8. FAQ

    Arse …. and it ain’t gonna get better any time soon … yankee dudes hate T.O. and that only leaves international players.  The multikulti tribal honkers will still pay to get into the ACC … and wave their home country flags in Canada.

    • Raps Loyalist

      Players wanna play for a winner PERIOD!  The Raps have never proven themselves to be that but this team is turning around and with a couple good picks the next two drafts and a better CBA for small market clubs (which is inevitable) the Raps will be a very attractive destination for any player from any country.  Don’t forget that a star player in Toronto can make a ton of money in endorsements a lot easier than they can in all but a few American markets.

      Also, the team nickname “Raptors” is an absolute joke and makes the team seem like a joke.  I say go with Toronto Tigers and change the colors to black and yellow…A fresh start for the franchise and more respectability would follow.

  9. DonCarlos2.0

    Remember that Bradley had two major issues to go along with his lack of apparent ability:

    1) He was only given playing time because of massive injuries to the Raps front line that year, and he played for Lenny Wilkens, who probably couldn’t be bothered to remember his name.

    2) His knee was so shredded that I can’t believe that he didn’t have previous issues in college. Maybe he didn’t work hard in rehab, I don’t know, but I’m sure he could have ended up being serviceable. He wasn’t the quickest guy but he had a fairly good nose for the ball, good hands and an ok jump shot. I remember him abusing Troy Murphy a few games. If he didn’t have what basically ended up being a career-ending knee injury, I’m sure he could have at least been traded for some other spare part with potential.

  10. Bendit

    Arsenalist, why dont you do a series of “where are they now” pieces. I am sure Ollie Miller might be persuaded to take a phone call. Actually a podcast would be hilarious. You can promise to send him some Taco Bell coupons.  

  11. Peoplestop4me

    Mike Bradley was beginning to come into his own before he became injured. Before you go talking around actually look what happened.


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