You’ll hear plenty of pundits and coaches talk about the need for experience on a basketball court but that doesn’t mean youth can’t deliver the goods.
These guys prove they can and here we look at the seasons where Raptors youth starred.
Number 5. DeMar DeRozan, 2009-10
DeMar DeRozan showed that he had the potential to be a star when he was just 20 years old. Now, his stats don’t really jump off the page at you, averaging just 8.6 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. However, he was making over 50% of his shots that year and was in fact deferring most of the offensive duties to Chris Bosh.
As a young guard, who was barely the second or third option on offense, DeRozan made the most of his opportunities. He had the organisation thrilled that he was on their team.
Number 4. Chris Bosh, 2003-04
Chris Bosh entered the league at just 19-years-old and didn’t even take a full season to show his worth. He averaged 11.5 points and 7.4 rebounds per game in his rookie season.
To make it even more impressive, Bosh was putting up those numbers in the 27th ranked offense that was only scoring 85 points per game at the time. He really set a foundation for the years to come and displayed what it was like to be a true warrior on the court.
Number 3. Marcus Camby, 1996-97
Marcus Camby was 22-years-old and whilst you can’t dress his time in Toronto up as a phenomenal one he really had one of the best seasons of his career with the Raptors. He averaged 14.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game; it saw everybody jump on board the hype train for him. Unfortunately for Camby, his numbers dipped a little bit the year after and the Raptors wound up trading him.
Funnily enough, that next season he went and averaged 3.7 blocks per game as he got back to the levels we knew he was capable. Dress it up how you want but Toronto made a hefty old mistake on this one as Camby went on to become one of the best defensive players in the NBA. Regardless, whilst he was there, Camby was incredibly important to the roster at such a young age.
Number 2. Vince Carter, 1998-99
Vince Carter, the number five draft pick, was just 22-years-old but everybody could already tell that he was going to be a superstar in this league for a long time coming. He won the Rookie of the Year award this season by averaging 18.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
His athleticism and explosiveness really set him over the edge though. After showing the world a few of his incredible dunks, the Raptors fans immediately loved having him on the team and he quickly became a fan favourite with incredible numbers to back it up.
Number 1. Damon Stoudamire, 1995-96
The 22-year-old Damon Stoudamire was a tremendous impact for the Toronto Raptors. Stoudamire played the game of basketball like a seasoned veteran at the time, averaging 19 points and 9.3 assists per game in his rookie season no less! The only other players in NBA history to average more assists during their rookie year were Mark Jackson and Oscar Robertson; that makes his numbers even more impressive.
Stoudamire displayed such a fantastic ability to score, dribble and defend at a high level so quickly. Even though he isn’t the greatest Raptor of all time, he is definitely the most impactful young player that the Raptors had the privilege of having.
There you have it, the seasons where Raptors youth starred. If you love basketball, get the latest NBA odds, spreads and betting lines here with TwinSpires Edge.