5 Worst Toronto Raptors Draft Picks of All-Time


  • Bargani’s tenure with the Raptors was disappointing despite being the first overall pick in 2006.
  • Raptors repeated draft blunders with Araújo and Radojević, missing out on future stars.
  • Flynn’s 2020 selection was forgivable, but Desmond Bane succeeding him adds a wrinkle to the mistake.



A lot can be said about what selecting the right talent in the NBA Draft can do for a franchise. Even more can be said about picking the wrong talent.

Year after year there are stories about horrible draft misses and hindsight ripping a team to shreds for choosing one player over another. Think about how the Minnesota Timberwolves and their fans must feel every time they are reminded that the organization passed on Stephen Curry not just once, but twice, when they desperately needed a point guard.

Management and fans alike will try to phase out the memory of the bad picks and focus on the good ones. Today, the focus is on the bad and the Toronto Raptors are the recipient of that focus.

Thankfully for the Raptors, they are a relatively young NBA franchise. They have only been around since 1995, when they joined the league as an expansion team alongside the then-Vancouver Grizzlies (now, the Memphis Grizzlies). This means they have had far fewer opportunities than some of the other teams to screw up their draft selections. However, that does not mean it has never happened.

Look no further than the names on this list as a reminder that every team and organization makes plenty of mistakes.

1 Andrea Bargani

The Raptors fumbled their only opportunity to select first overall


The 2006 NBA Draft is certainly not looked back on fondly for the strength of its class. Who would be the lucky team that landed the first overall pick in that year’s draft? Of course, it was the Raptors.

What came next was the selection of a player that no one in the city of Toronto would happily reminisce about Andrea Bargani.

Bargani’s Career with the Raptors











The best thing one will hear anyone say about Bargani is that trading him to the New York Knicks somehow managed to get the Raptors a first-round pick. Bargani was widely criticized during his time with the Raptors.

He was a terrible rebounder for a player of his size. To call him a poor defender would be offering him kindness that he does not deserve. On top of the obvious deficiencies that Bargani had on the court, off the court was just as much of an issue.

He had a poor attitude and was rarely one to take accountability for the team’s lack of success. The work ethic and effort overall was something regularly called into question during his time with the Raptors. Bargani’s seven seasons with the team are often remembered as some of the worst years the organization had to endure.

The two times that Toronto managed to go to the NBA playoffs with Bargani on the team, he was an absolute dud. He averaged 8.9 points on 41.2 percent from the field between his playoff runs with the organization. The sad fact about that is, Bargani’s offense was the better part of his game.

While the 2006 draft does not hold a ton of standout talent that followed Bargani, there is one name that sticks out like a sore thumb. LaMarcus Aldridge went second overall in this draft. For those unfamiliar, he had a long and productive NBA career, often entering conversations about the best power forwards in basketball during his prime. That one has to sting.

2 Rafael Araújo

The 2004 NBA Draft did not treat the Raptors much better

Rafael Araújo

The Raptors and international big man prospects were not a combination that went together well. 2004 was yet another example of that. The team selected in the lottery, holding the eighth overall pick. The Raptors used that pick to draft Brazilian center Rafael Araújo.

For those reading this at home who just mouthed or whispered ‘who’, there is absolutely no fault in that.

Rafael Araújo’s Career with the Raptors









Araújo had a very short-lived career in the NBA. He played two seasons with the Raptors before relocating to the Utah Jazz for an additional season. After the stint in Salt Lake City, his career in the league was over. There is not much to be said about this one other than the pick being a massive bust.

It looks even worse when looking at some of the players who followed after Araújo. The one that will hurt the most is Andre Iguodala being selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the pick that immediately followed the Raptors. Iguodala is likely a future member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Other notable names that followed Araújo include: Al Jefferson, J.R. Smith, Josh Smith, and Jameer Nelson. That only includes players taken in the top twenty picks of the draft.

3 Aleksandar Radojević

Another international big, another horrible miss for the Raptors

Aleksandar Radojević

This now makes three international bigs that the Raptors absolutely dropped the ball with. If one does not believe there to be a pattern at this point, one is not paying attention.

In the 1999 NBA Draft, the Raptors were in the lottery for another dubious misstep, selecting 12th overall. They used that selection to bring in Bosnian big man Aleksandar Radojević. Once again, asking who would be the correct response to this.

Aleksandar Radojević career with the Raptors









Radojević only spent one season with the Raptors, appearing in just three games. After his rookie year in 1999-2000, Radojević would not see any NBA action until 2004-2005. Similarly to the last draft bust, he joined the Jazz, where he would appear in twelve games. That was his final season.

Just like the last Raptors miss, this one also had a very talented NBA pro that followed. The Los Angeles Clippers selected Corey Maggette with the pick that immediately followed. Maggette played in the league until 2013 and was a good scorer throughout his time in the NBA.

Other notable selections that followed Radojević include: Ron Artest, James Posey, and Andrei Kirilenko. It was certainly a draft day to forget for the Raptors.

4 Bruno Caboclo

Caboclo was always two years away from being two years away

Toronto Raptors

While not a big man, Bruno Caboclo does follow the pattern of international prospects who never panned out for the Raptors. Caboclo came into the league raw. The Brazilian Kevin Durant was said to be two years away from being two years away. That status never changed throughout his NBA career.

Bruno Caboclo’s Career with the Raptors











Caboclo had the size and length to capture the imagination of Masai Ujiri at the time. If he could be properly developed, there was a chance Caboclo could turn into a good player in the league. The problem is he never developed, and the Raptors eventually decided to cut their losses. Caboclo bounced around in the NBA for a fair bit after that, sticking around until 2021.

Luckily for the Raptors, seeing as this was a pick made a bit later in the first round (with the 20th selection), there were no obvious Hall of Famers that closely followed this one. However, there were a few quality NBA players that did pass them by.

Clint Capela, Bogdan Bogdanović, and Kyle Anderson are some of the names who did closely follow Caboclo, who could have ended up on the Raptors. Oh, and Nikola Jokić went 41st overall in this draft to the Denver Nuggets. If there was ever a time to reach on an international big man, that would have been it.

5 Malachi Flynn

This one was forgivable, except for one big factor

Toronto Raptors

As far as draft-day misses go, a team can certainly be afforded some leniency for messing up the 29th overall pick. That is exactly what happened to the Raptors when they chose Malachi Flynn with that spot in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Malachi Flynn’s Career with the Raptors









Flynn was often famously trapped inside Nick Nurse’s doghouse during his time with the Raptors. He never escaped that doghouse, no matter how many ridiculous offseason Pro-Am runs he would have. Flynn rode the bench for the majority of his time in Toronto before getting traded away to the Knicks as a part of the deal that swapped OG Anunoby for RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley.

The expectations are relatively low of picks that late in the draft, and in another situation, this one would be quickly forgotten and not thought much about. However, there is one crucial factor that warrants this selection being included as one of the Raptors’ worst picks they have made.

Desmond Bane is the player who immediately followed Flynn. Bane has blossomed into a 20+ points per game scorer in his last two seasons with the Grizzlies. He’s one of the best three-point shooters in the league, holding a career average of 41.5 percent. That kind of production would have been welcomed with open arms in Toronto.

This one is absolutely forgivable in comparison to the other selections on this list. However, it still does not look great in hindsight.

Stats are courtesy of Basketball Reference.


5 Best Toronto Raptors Draft Picks of All-Time

For one of the newer franchises in the league, the Raptors are not short of great selections in the NBA Draft.

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