Yep it’s about that time again. LeBron and his Cavaliers had their long awaited parade and Sidney hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup again 7 years after his first. The NHL & NBA Draft bonanza is now upon us. Tonight the hardwood gets it’s time to put on awkward giant suits and tomorrow the ice boys get their shot to cover up their suits with giant jerseys. The 2 signature franchises owned by MLSE are on different paths towards their respective championships and this draft is telling. The Toronto Raptors finished their best season ever, having taken the eventual NBA Champions to 6 games in the EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS! The Toronto Maple Leafs however are coming off their WORST season ever at the absolute cellar of the LEAGUE. This dismal feat has awarded the Leafs the #1 Overall Pick in this years NHL Draft. The Raps have managed to snag the #9 pick as well as their earned #27 pick. The Raps are not rebuilding this year, they don’t need a rookie pick at 9 to help them. The Leafs are salivating at the chance to grab the 2016 version of the Next Gretzky – aka Auston Matthews. So this weeks TBT takes it back to 3 of the most memorable draft moments in Leafs & Raptors history … with some bonus videos too so be prepared for more than 3 videos to keep you hyped.
In honor of the Leafs #1 overall selection let’s take it back to 1985. I was 10. 1985 was the last time the Leafs had the #1 overall pick and we all know that that was actually one of the greatest decisions this sad sack organization ever made. Of course it was run by evil Harold Ballard then but … meh yaaay Wendel Clark!!
Wendel ironically was involved in one of the Leafs biggest trade moments AT the NHL Draft 9 years later. Ironically he was trade for another #1 overall pick; the first ever non Canadian & European born player picked #1: Mats Sundin. Mats who went on to become one of the greatest Leafs and possibly the greatest captain (although these were far from any type of glory years for the blue & whites) in their franchise. Of course Don Cherry was not that well at foresight then. I guess nothing really has changed.
The Toronto Raptors have only ever had #1 pick ONCE despite being a new franchise team. That #1 pick came in 1995. It was Bryan Colangelo’s big debut. It’s probably the biggest reason why BC got booted from T.O. Il Mago. Andrea Bargnani. I’m still cringing. Honestly if they had the #10-15 pick I wouldn’t be mad to this day, but they had #1 overall. They passed on LaMarcus Aldridge, Rajon Rondo and Brandon Roy. They also passed on 2 eventual Raptors teammates Rudy Gay and their current franchise sweetheart- Kyle Lowry.
That’s all I’m going to say about that. Still bitter. I wanted Aldridge. Still do.
That wasn’t the FIRST bust our Dino’s have succumbed to. Oh no, they have several actually. The 1st however came in their very 1st try. Just natural busting talent scouts I guess.
In 1995. The Raps & VANCOUVER Grizzlies had the 6th & 7th choice in the NBA Draft. I have no idea why they wanted the 2 franchise teams to be capped out of the top 5 picks. I assume it’s because this talented draft class didn’t want 2 guys stuck in Canada. Yes I said talented.
The Draft itself was actually held in the SkyDome since that’s where the Raps played until the ACC was built. It was the only time the draft was held over the border.
The purple striped dino’s not only confused the faithful newbie fans but the actual pick himself. Arizona’s Damon ‘Mighty Mouse’ Stoudamire was picked as the 1st ever “college” draft pick and he was as happy as the teams 1st ever player (who was chosen is the supplemental dispersal draft) BJ Armstrong. Armstrong never laced up for the Raptors and Damon wished he never. He actually was great his 1st year, winning the rookie of the year award and granting us some actual highlight moments. Alas, he never fit in or wanted to play here from the jump.
Had the Raps held the #1 or 2 pick we might have some early success … or whiners and complainers with even more talent than Mighty Mouse.
Still, I wish we had Garnett. I mean really Minnesota is just Canada South.
In 1998 Vancouver finally got it’s draft event and of course their outspoken brothers to the East took all of that wonderful spotlight. The era of Vinsanity was born.
Hopefully tonight will bring our almost there franchise to the next level. Worst case scenario the player drafted actually likes Toronto and wants to come here. Last year Delon Wright endeared himself to us all with his jubilance and his family excitement.
Please don’t fck this up.
I’m looking at you Leafs.