Title: 6 alternate Raptors universe scenarios from the 2006 Andrea Bargnani draft
Date: May 7, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, Eric Koreen and I teamed up to engage in some remedial chaos theory and answer the question: What if the Raptors took someone other than Andrea Bargnani No. 1 in the 200 draft?
Most of the best what-if or do-over scenarios in Raptors history come from a player perspective, not the team’s point of view.
Tracy McGrady’s departure is the easiest one to focus on, just because of what his staying with the team might have meant. You can’t assume he would have been the same Hall of Fame-type player he became in Orlando and Houston had he remained in Toronto. Playing second fiddle to Vince Carter would have guaranteed things would have turned out differently — but his overall talent was undeniable. In Toronto, maybe his scoring would have been minimized, but he could have become a better playmaker and defender. The comparison is too easy, but McGrady blossoming into Scottie Pippen 2.0 definitely would have been a possibility.
Assuming decent health, McGrady’s presence likely would have kept the Raptors in the playoff picture for what turned out to be Carter’s final years, and kept Vinsanity alive longer.
McGrady wanted to go home, though — a familiar refrain throughout Raptors history, given Damon Stoudamire and Kawhi Leonard’s post-Toronto fates. These do-over scenarios are unsatisfying, though, because they ask human beings to have different desires. That is tantamount to asking humans to be fundamentally different people. The same goes for Carter: If he had been more invested in the Raptors’ welfare even after they went in a different direction with multiple coaching and executive hires, he would not have been Carter.
There is one team-side curiosity that still resonates, particularly because there are multiple alternate scenarios. A six-sided die is necessary for this particular project. While Raptors fans might think they lived through the darkest timeline in the later half of the 2000s and the early 2010s, perhaps we were never even cutting out felt goatees to begin with. (Yes, I have been rewatching “Community” on Netflix during The Great Indoor Times. Yes, Blake and I have gone to this well before.)