In a recent podcast with Kevin Durant, NBA legend Isiah Thomas talked about the Toronto Raptors roster being years ahead of its time when he served as the team’s Executive Vice President in the 90s.
Isiah Thomas became the Executive Vice President and a part-owner of the Toronto Raptors after retiring from the Detroit Pistons in 1994. But he left the organization in 1998, after a disagreement with the new management.
Isiah mentioned how the team during his years in the Raptors was way ahead of the time. In those years, the Raptors drafted names like Damon Stoudamire, Marcus Camby and then high schooler Tracy McGrady.
Interestingly, even the Brooklyn Nets All-Star Kevin Durant praised the lineup. Laughingly he said, “that would be a ridiculous team right now.”
How good were the Toronto Raptors in the 90s?
The Raptors came into existence on November 4, 1993. For their first season, they filled the roster with the players through an expansion draft in 1995. They got veterans like John Sally, Jerome Kersey etc.
Under Isiah, the franchise sought players who can fit in a high screen and roll playstyle. They tried to build a “small ball” team, which is pretty common in today’s league. However, things went south real quick for multiple reasons.
In the 1997-98 season, the team suffered multiple injuries. They were so bad that they went on a 17- game losing streak at one time. They won only 16 games that year. After Isiah’s failed attempt to execute a letter of intent, he resigned from the team and sold his stake in the franchise.
After he left, the franchise saw some ray of hope in the cousin duo of Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady. In the 1999-20 season, the Raptors made it to their first-ever playoffs. They were swept by the New York Knicks in the first round.
Next season, McGrady became a free agent and took his talent to the Orlando Magic. Isiah’s plans for the team’s future was a failure and couldn’t hold against the test of time.