For those who have been supporting Toronto since day 1, I have decided to open discussion on how it all started - the 1995 expansion draft.
It is conventional wisdom that expansion draft is created in order to help the expansion teams by allowing them to draft one unprotected player from every NBA team. Even though NBA teams are able to protect 8 players under contract and free agents are not included, it does allow expansion teams to draft couple of decent players. However, this is not the case. Expansion teams do not have the right but in fact the obligation to sign one player from each and every NBA team and this means signing ether 1. Bad players on non-guaranteed contracts or 2. decent overpaid players on long contracts. 1995 expansion draft was best example of that.
What people do not know is that there were only three players on 1995 expansion draft that teams actually wanted to sign.
1. Toronto drafted B.J. Armstrong from Chicago who later declined to play for the Raptors.
2. Vancouver drafted Greg Anthony from New York.
Both Armstrong and Anthony were on bad contracts which was the reason they were not protected, but were both perceived as good players which was the reason teams wanted to draft them. They were both projected as starting point guards.
3. Toronto signed Tony Massenburg from the Clippers. He was a decent player on a decent contract which made him attractive. He was projected as starting power forward.
After this pick, both Toronto and Vancouver drafted bums on non-guaranteed contracts in order to avoid drafting players on bad contracts. But when they ran out of bums on non-guaranteed contracts, they started drafted decent players on bad contracts.
13. Toronto drafted Jerome Kersey from Portland who was projected as starting small forward. He later declined to play for the Raptors.
14. Vancouver drafted last bum in the draft - Larry Stewart from Washington. This has taken Rex Chapman, who was the best off guard in the draft, off the draft.
15. Toronto drafted Zan Tabak from Houston. Even though he was not regular part of Houston rotation, he was projected as starting center.
16. Vancouver drafted Kenny Gattison from Charlotte. He was projected as starting power forward.
17. Toronto drafted Willie Anderson from San Antonio. He was projected as starting off guard. At this point, Toronto have drafted their projected starting lineup of Armstrong, Anderson, Kersey, Massenburg and Tabak. From now on, they only drafted centers and power forwards.
18. Vancouver drafted Byron Scott from Indiana. He was projected as starting off guard.
19. Toronto drafted Ed Pinckney from Milwaukee.
20. Vancouver drafted Gerald Wilkins contract from Cleveland. He was injured and was not expected to play.
21. Toronto drafted Acie Earl from Boston.
22. Vancouver drafted Benoit Benjamin from New Jersey. He was projected as starting center.
23. Toronto drafted contract of retired B.J. Tyler.
24. Vancouver drafted contract of Doug Edwards from Atlanta. He actually played a season before being waived.
25. Toronto drafted John Salley from Miami.
26. Vancouver drafted Blue Edwards from Utah. He was projected as starting small forward. Only with its last pick in the draft, Vancouver have compleated its projected starting lineup for next season - Anthony, Scott, Edwards, Gattison and Benjamin.
27. Toronto was obligated to draft Oliver Miller who was the only Detroit player in the draft. At the time Miller was so fat he could barely walk.
With everything said and done, Toronto roster looked like this:
C. Tabak, Earl, Miller
F. Massenburg, Pinckney, Salley
G. B.J. Armstrong
Armstrong declined to report and he was traded for couple of power forwards (Rogers and Alexander). Kersey also declined to report and was waived. This basically left Toronto with only one wing taken in the expansion draft.
Vancouver roster looked like this:
F. Edwards, Edwards
In my opinion, Vancouver did much better than Toronto in the expansion draft. They have spent less money, taken less bad contracts and still created a better team. Tide have changed only after Toronto drafted Damon Stoudamire and that was only made possible after Armstrong declined to report to Toronto.