The Raptor effect: four former players who found playoff glory somewhere else
Call us self-loathing Toronto sports fans, but this year’s otherwise spectacular NBA playoffs have been marred by the success of recent Raptors castoffs. A quick glance around the league reveals a whole host of players who were exiled from Raptorland only to be granted a new lease on their basketball lives elsewhere (and by elsewhere, we mostly mean Dallas). In the first round, we cringed as Jarret Jack and Marco Belinelli helped the New Orleans Hornets nearly upset the heavily favoured Los Angeles Lakers. Then, in the next round, we watched as more and more former Raps played the elevated brand of playoff basketball they never had the chance to during their Toronto tenure. We take a look at four such players after the jump.
1. Peja Stojakovic, Dallas Mavericks
In January, Stojakovic was sitting on the Raptors bench, wearing a $3,000 suit and feigning excitement. Three months and one trade later, he scored 21 points, shooting a perfect 13 for 13, as his new squad completed a four-game sweep of the defending champs. Once believed to be a shell of his former all-star self, Stojakovic is all of a sudden a key piece in a legitimate title contender.
2. Shawn Marion, Dallas Mavericks
Marion’s prime is far behind him and by all accounts he was miserable in Toronto. The Raps dealt him to Dallas to create some cap room to bring in Hedo Turkoglu—everybody knows how that turned out—and now he’s a starter on a team in the midst of a championship run.
3. Jermaine O’Neal, Boston Celtics
Okay, so O’Neal hasn’t exactly been lighting it up since he left the Raptors (and his team bowed out of the playoffs earlier this week). But he averaged 22 minutes a game for the Celtics in the first two rounds, which is none too shabby considering his injury-plagued days in Toronto. But, hey, at least Raps fan don’t have to be subjected to plays like this any longer.
4. Tyson Chandler, Dallas Mavericks
Sure, Chandler was never actually a Raptor. But he almost was. We imagine he breathed a big sigh of relief when he heard the Toronto deal was nixed, then took a good look in the mirror. He must have liked what he saw because this week he was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Team.