2005-06: Raptors Hit Jackpot
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The 2005-06 season was one of continued transition for the Toronto RaptorsAfter drafting Charlie Villanueva and Joey Graham, both rookies teamed with Chris Bosh to form a strong foundation in Toronto that gave Raptors fans plenty to be excited about.

It didn’t start out as expected as the Raptors struggled out of the gate to a 1-15 start but thanks to the coaching of Sam Mitchell, the Raptors turned it around and had plenty of positives the rest of the way.

After being on the jump for just over a year, Raptors general manager Rob Babcock was relieved of his duties on January 26 with Wayne Embry taking over on an interim basis.

Embry wasn’t afraid to make changes as he traded Jalen Rose and Denver’s first round pick (acquired the previous year in the Vince Carter trade) to the New York Knicks for $10 million in salary cap relief and Antonio Davis.

Getting the salary cap relief was a big step in the rebuilding process and was a big factor in the hiring of Bryan Colangelo to be president and general manager. Colangelo joined the Raptors after he spent 15 years in the Phoenix Suns organization and he immediately brought new energy and optimism to the Raptors.

While things were changing off the court, on the court the Raptors development process continued.

Bosh continued to be one of the young up and coming players in the NBA. The forward averaged career highs in points (22.5), rebounds (9.2) and assists (2.6). His strong play didn’t go unnoticed as he was named a reserve to his first ever NBA All-Star game and he was also invited to the USA Basketball Program.

The 22-year-old’s campaign came to an end when he sprained his thumb March 26 and he missed the final 12 games of the season but there was no doubt who the franchise player is.

Many were surprised at the Raptors draft picks at the previous draft but both Charlie Villanueva and Joey Graham had strong rookie seasons and showed that they will develop into excellent NBA players.

Villanueva statistically had the better season as he finished second in Rookie of the Year voting after averaging 13 points, 6.4 rebounds in 29.1 minutes of action. Charlie V set a Raptors rookie record when he scored 48 points against Milwaukee on March 28.

With Bosh and Villanueva anchoring the forward positions, Morris Peterson and Mike James led the way from the guard position.

Peterson continued his strong play at both ends of the court as he finished third on the team in scoring while he had the task on most nights of guarding the other teams best perimeter player.

From his first game with the Raptors, James wasn’t shy in hoisting up his shot from and that was one of the reasons he finished second on the team in scoring (20.3 points career high) and a team leading 5.8 assists. It was the first time in Raptors franchise history that two players finished the year averaging over 20 points in a season.

Toronto also set two other franchise records on the season one for averaging the most points a game (101.1) and the other for making a 3 pointer in 614 consecutive games breaking the previous mark of 594.

The franchises fortunes continued to head in the right direction when the Raptors won the NBA draft lottery in May and were awarded the first overall pick in the June draft.

Bosh took his game to a whole
new level in 2005-06.

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