The Toronto Raptors waived centre Alex Len last week, ending his seven-game run with the team. We’ll always remember the 27-year-old for his role in getting the first win in “Tampa Bay” Raptors history. On New Year’s Eve, Len scored 11 points in 13 minutes against the New York Knicks in a victory. His 3-for-3 performance from beyond the arc matched the 3-point output from the entire Knicks team, who went 3-for-36.
The list of Raptors players who have played less than 15 games with the franchise isn’t an exclusive club, but there have been some legendary names over the years. Here are nine other guys who dropped by, put on a Raptors uniform, and have probably been forgotten since (in order by number of games played with the franchise and certainly not their importance to the team):
Rod Strickland (15 games, 2004), Sebastian Telfair (14 games, 2013)
Two legendary New York point guards both made brief Raptor cameos during two separate down periods in franchise history (there have been more than a few of those periods). Sebastian Telfair appeared on the cover of SLAM and Sports Illustrated before playing in a single NBA game. He didn’t pan out as a pro and dropped by for 14 games with the Raptors in 2013. Rod Strickland was one of the most underrated point guards of the ‘90s and got himself a couple more NBA cheques in 2004 with Toronto. He is also the only player in NBA history to be name-dropped on the Wu-Tang Forever album and have worn a Raptors uniform.
Haywoode Workman (13 games, 2000)
Haywoode Workman played for five different NBA teams during his career, including a mostly forgettable 13-game run with the Raptors in 2000. Does the name sound familiar at all? It might. Because you’ll still see him occasionally during Raptors games as one of the refs. Workman was hired by the NBA in 2008 and became the third ex-player in league history to become a referee. Maybe he’s the guy to talk to about all the anti-Canadian refereeing conspiracies.
Sean Marks (13 games, 1999-2000)
The man responsible for building a superteam in Toronto’s division was a Raptor himself once upon a time. Sean Marks, the general manager for the Brooklyn Nets who just pulled off the James Harden trade, played two seasons in Toronto. You might not remember this. I don’t blame you. Marks scored 19 points as a Raptor over 13 games.
Jared Sullinger (11 games, 2017)
In 2017, Jared Sullinger was among a long list of candidates to fill the gaping hole that was the team’s starting power forward spot before the Raptors finally traded for Serge Ibaka. Sullinger injured his foot in his first preseason game with Toronto and ended up playing just 11 games. He became more famous for the scooter he was using at the arena while he was recovering from injury. Sullinger was traded to Phoenix in the P.J. Tucker deal.
Mengke Bateer (7 games, 2003)
The 2003-04 season wasn’t pretty. Thirty-three wins. Kevin O’Neill’s lone season as head coach. Vince Carter’s final full season as a Raptor. It was also Mengke Bateer’s very brief one season run as a Raptor. Bateer was China’s starting centre in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, but only played 46 games total in his NBA career, and just seven games in Toronto. But he did leave one iconic memory here: his introductory press conference was at Pacific Mall and sounded like quite an event, even making the front page of the Toronto Star sports section.
Eric Moreland (4 games, 2019)
You could argue the Raptors had three important big men during their championship run. Marc Gasol solidified Toronto’s starting five. Ibaka was huge during the playoff run, including the second most important 3-pointer in Game 7 against Philadelphia. And then there’s Eric Moreland. He only played in four regular season games, basically taking over the Greg Monroe spot, but his most valuable play came in the championship parade when he made sure Gasol didn’t fall off the bus.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 17, 2019
Peja Stojakovic (2 games, 2010-2011)
This one is already fading from my memory. The Raptors acquired Peja Stojakovic from New Orleans but he only appeared in two games before being waived to join a contender. Stojakovic signed with the Dallas Mavericks and won a championship with them. His most memorable Raptors-related moment came as an opposing player:
Nigel Hayes (2 games, 2018)
Nigel Hayes played just two games with the Raptors but he must be mentioned for slinging an imaginary arrow at the New York Knicks’ bench after a garbage time corner 3. Hayes played six minutes total as a Raptor, but went 2-for-2 from 3 and made the most of those two baskets.
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