The Toronto Raptors are a Canadian professional basketball team based in Toronto, Ontario. The Raptors compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA), as a member club of the league's Eastern Conference Atlantic Division. The team was established in 1995, along with the Vancouver Grizzlies, as part of the NBA's expansion into Canada. When the Grizzlies relocated to Memphis, Tennessee to become the Memphis Grizzlies in 2001, the Raptors became the only Canadian-based team in the NBA. They originally played their home games at the SkyDome (since renamed Rogers Centre in 2005), before moving eastward along Bremner Boulevard to the Air Canada Centre in 1999.
During the 1999 NBA draft, believing that the Raptors still lacked a strong frontcourt presence, Grunwald traded first-round draft pick Jonathan Bender for power forward Antonio Davis of the Indiana Pacers. Davis quickly entered the Raptors starting lineup and he would develop into an All-Star in the coming years. Conversely, Bender would only play nine seasons and would be out of the league by age 29. In the backcourt, Carter, Christie and Dell Curry played at the shooting guard position and Alvin Williams and Muggsy Bogues at point guard. The rotation of Davis, Oakley and Willis in the frontcourt and Carter's and McGrady's improvement helped the team make its first ever playoff appearance, fulfilling a promise Carter had made to fans in the previous season. Lacking significant post-season experience, Toronto was defeated 3–0 by the New York Knicks in the first round. Nonetheless, team improvements and the rise of Carter—who emphatically won the 2000 NBA Slam Dunk Contest—attracted many fans around Toronto, many of whom were previously not basketball fans. The season was also the first full year played at the Air Canada Centre, after having played four years at the cavernous SkyDome, which was better suited to baseball and Canadian football. Overall, the Raptors concluded the season with a 45–37 record.Vince carters top ten dunks
After Carter left, Chris Bosh emerged as the team leader. In 2006–07, Bryan Colangelo's first full season as President and General Manager, a combination of Bosh, 2006 first overall NBA draft pick Andrea Bargnani and a revamp of the roster helped the Raptors qualify for their first playoff berth in five years, capturing the Atlantic Division title with 47 wins. In the 2007–08 season, they advanced to the playoffs again, but failed to make the playoffs in each of the next five seasons. In a bid to persuade Bosh to stay, Colangelo overhauled the team roster for the 2009–10 season, but Bosh signed with the Miami Heat in July 2010, ushering in yet another era of rebuilding for the Raptors. After Masai Ujiri was brought in as the new General Manager in 2013, he traded Bargnani to the New York Knicks. With a backcourt led by Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, the Raptors returned to the playoffs, won their second Atlantic Division title, and won a then-franchise record 48 games in the 2013–14 season. However, they failed for a fourth consecutive time to advance beyond the first round of the playoffs. In the 2014–15 season, they won a then-franchise record 49 games, but failed for a second consecutive year to advance past the first round of the playoffs, getting swept by the Washington Wizards, 4–0. In the 2015–16 season, they won a franchise record 56 games, finishing in second place in the conference for the first time in franchise history. In the playoffs, they won their first playoff series since 2001 by defeating both the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat, advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time against the Cleveland Cavaliers, only for the Raptors to lose to the eventual NBA champions in six games.