Kawhi In The Mt. Rushmore of Raptors?
by Trey Fraser
It’s early Sunday morning about 12:48am, and the Toronto Raptors just won the NBA’s Eastern Conference Championship an hour and a half ago. It got me to thinking, this Raptors franchise has been around since ‘94-‘95 (almost 25 years ago), and they’ve had some pretty good ballers over the years.
When you think of the Mt. Rushmore of Toronto Raptors, obviously Vince Carter comes to mind. 7 years, avg. 23/5/4 and made 5 or 6 all stars games while there.
Then there’s the homie Damon Stoudamire, who was there from the inception of the franchise, with his 20/4/9 in just the first three years of his career there while helping the Raptors establish itself in the league.
Follow it up with Chris Bosh, the nappy head dread at the time. Spent 7 years there avg. 20/9/2 and made 5 all star games.
Then you have DeMar Derozan, whom myself and Maestro have heavily criticized on the podcast for not being tough enough in big game situations. Nonetheless before the trade, he’s avg. 20/4/3 in just 9 seasons with the baby dinosaurs.
So yes! The four players I previously mentioned in my opinion are the Mt Rushmore of Toronto Raptors.......…….....................................................................................................……..…… until they won the East for the first time just hours ago.
Here comes Kawhi Leonard in a trade with the Spurs for Derozan, and he has already cemented himself as an all-time Raptor. Now I know what y’all gonna say: “Trey, he’s been on the team for only one year.” “Trey, he’s gonna leave Toronto whether he makes the Finals or not.” “Trey, you wildin' son”, this, that, and the third. Well, hear me out.
First of all, this 2019 version has gone further than any other version in team history. That’s been because of Kawhi. Second, he’s one of the best players in the league, Top 5 player for certain. And man, did he play like it in these playoffs. Third, his numbers for the one lone season are 27/7/3. And that’s with him missing 22 games this regular season. Finally, he’s one of the greatest two-way players in the league, has won a chip with San Antonio and was the Finals MVP in ‘14. And more importantly, he’s showed out in these playoffs. In three rounds of postseason play, he’s avg. 31/9/4, including two 40+ point games, eleven 30+ point games, six games where he had 10+ boards, a series clinching walk-off 4-rim-bounce bucket against Philly, and 17 boards in the closeout game against the Bucks to clinch the East. What’s even more impressive is him on the defensive end, guarding some of the best players in the East on several occasions.
And so the question stands, is Kawhi now in the Mt. Rushmore of Toronto Raptors players? For me right now, Vince Carter and Chris Bosh are automatic locks. Both will be in the HOF one day. And yes again, I’m putting Kawhi on that list even if he’s only been around one year, that dude got em to the Finals damnit!!! So that leaves out either Derozan or Stoudamire. I know many of you will think with the way we get on Derozan over the years that I would swap him out for Kawhi. But I’m gonna go different here, as much as I liked Damon Stoudamire back then, I gotta swap him out for Kawhi. Stoudamire was never an All Star and he only spent 2 1/2 years with the team. At least Derozan gave you 9 years and shown improvement, plus made 4 All Star game appearances.
My new Mt. Rushmore of Toronto Raptors: Vinsanity, Bosh, Kawhi, Derozan
Shoutouts and congrats to the Toronto Raptors for finally advancing to the NBA Finals for the 1st time in history of the team!
And I’ll ask Maestro this one last time. Did the Raptors still have to sweep the Magic to make this run legit????
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