The 2010/11 season was not a good one for the Toronto Raptors. It began in the 2010 offseason with Chris Bosh, formerly the Raptors second most significant player, leaving Toronto for Miami to win championships with Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.
It was also the worst of a five-year stretch from 2008/09-2012/13 in which the Raptors failed to make the playoffs with just 22 regular-season wins that season.
Those days are long forgotten at the moment as the past six years have been a treat for Raptors’ fans to live through culminating in the Toronto franchise winning its first-ever NBA title in 2019 just two months ago.
There have been a few players who have been key factors in lifting the Toronto franchise out of the pathetic state it once was into and making them the reigning and defending NBA Champions. This list focuses on the five greatest Raptors’ players since 2010.
#5 Jonas Valanciunas (Center)
This Lithuanian center was drafted fifth overall by the Toronto Raptors in 2011. He spent one more year after that in Europe before joining the Raptors for the 2012/13 NBA season. His career as a Raptor was rocky not because of off-court behavior. In a changing game, Valanciunas was deemed too slow, a defensive liability and he didn’t have a good enough outside/long-range shot.
However, right up until he was part of the trade for Marc Gasol, Valanciunas was not only part of a young nucleus of players for an improving Toronto franchise which included players like DeMar DeRozan, Pascal Siakam, and O.G. Anunoby, but it could be argued he was the Raptors best Playoff performer (most consistent) between 2014-2018.
Unless the franchise makes a deal to bring him back to the roster, the one-time Raptors’ center is ranked second in total rebounds with 3961 and 2752 defensive boards. He is third in terms of blocked shots with 479 to his name.
Valanciunas is also second all-time as a Raptor in field goal percentage at 55.9%. He was a significant contributor to the Raptors’ fortunes and was their starting center in three of the last four seasons in which Toronto has won 50 plus games each year.