Hmmm... I'll try to add in-depth detail here. The Raptors haven't exactly been the standard of an excellent franchise, but I do remember some great moments in an otherwise mediciore setting and just down right terrible seasons.
So, I'll provide my Top 10 favourite teams here (bare with me, it might get ugly from the start
10. 2003-04 - A trade that was supposed to be the change for a playoff run turned into disappointment (which would be the theme for years to come). Jalen Rose and Donyell Marshall did bring a lot of offensive talent, but the Raptors traded the heart of their defense and hustle in Antonio David and Jerome Williams, along with veteran leadership to the club. It didn't help that Rose injured his hand that ultimately cost the Raptors a chance at a playoff spot. Rookie Chris Bosh was solid and made the All-Rookie First Team that year, in what is now known as a great draft.
9. 2008-09 - Very similar to the 03-04 campaign, but this time a trade that happened in the off-season. We got Jermaine O'Neal and send T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, and our rookie Roy Hibbert (looking back at this man...
) to the Pacers. Ultimately, the goal was toughen our defense and add a veteran presence/swagger to the Raptors lineup. However, O'Neal continued with his injury prone ways, from his knee, hamstring and only played 41 games before being traded to the Heat along with fan favourite Jamario Moon for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. Other than that, the team seemed did look good early on and I always liked the front court chemistry that Bosh and O'Neal had. Bosh made his 4th straight all-star appearance and averaged 20/10.
8. 2004-05 - A healthy Rose and Marshall with a full training camp ahead of them, it looked like the playoffs were in sight, along with new head coach Sam Mitchell. But the defense was just never there. They were a team that loved the 3 ball and to shoot, but just never could get enough stops. But what ultimately defined the season is the trade of Vince Carter, the face of the franchise. Many fans were upset at the trade and at the way Carter left too. It's a strong reminded of how the NBA is a business and even a player you never thought was going to leave ends up going. With Carter gone, it was now Chris Bosh's team for the future. Marshall also tied the NBA record of hitting 12 3-pointers in a single game vs the 76ers.
7. 1997-98 - This is the worst record the Raptors ever accumulated, but it was also my first true year as a Raptor fan, so I do have soft spot for it. I loved Damon Stoudemire and Doug Christie backcourt and the rookie year of Tracy McGrady also showed of some nice raw talent. Other than them and Marcus Camby, it's not much to note here. Just mark it down for nostalgic purposes.
6. 1998-99 - A lockout year, but it was all worth it seeing Vince Carter make his debut as a Raptor. He won Rookie of the Year, the second in team history (Damon Stoudemire won it in the Raptors first season) and along with Tracy McGrady showed promise of a dynamic young and upcoming duo. The first significant trade in Raptors history was getting Charles Oakley from the Knicks in exchange for Marcus Camby. He and Kevin Willis would be the veteran's that would help shape the young Raptor team of the early 00's.
5. 2005-06 - Another sub par year, but I loved Mike James and his one hit wonder year. Chris Bosh became an all-star for the first-time in his career. Charlie Villanueva was a solid rookie and scored a Raptors rookie record 48 points vs the Bucks. Jalen Rose was traded to the Knicks to free up cap space and promising off-season.
4. 1999-00 - A trademark year for the Raptors for several reasons. They established their first winning season, qualified for the playoffs, Vince Carter became the first All-Star in franchise history, and also made the first All-NBA team (3rd team) in franchise history. They also just seemed like a team that wasn't going to pushed around by anybody. Other solid wing players like McGrady, Christie, and Alvin Williams were very good two-way player. Antonio Davis and Oakley provided the interior defense. I wish they did win their first playoff series that season, they would have no doubt been my #1 overall team.
3. 2006-07 - For the first time, the Raptors were back in the playoffs in 4 years, but this time in the Chris Bosh era. The Raptors won their first division title, Chris Bosh made his second consecutive all-star apperance (second Raptor to do accomplish this since Vince Carter) and made All-NBA second team (again, last Raptor to do this was Carter in 00-01). This team was just incredible shooting the ball. Anthony Parker was a solid pickup for this team and rookies Jorge Garbojsa and Andrea Bargnani played well too. They also had some exciting regular season games , the Hail Mary by Mo-Pete being the staple of the season.
2. 2001-02 - This season was defined by some interesting moments. Vince Carter had to miss the all-star game and the rest of the season because of injury. The Raptors had lost 13 in a row at one point, but some how turned it around... winning their next 9 games and their final 12 of 14 to get into the 7th spot in the East. Keon Clark was a huge surprise for his athletic play and huge defense. It's a moment in time where I was proud of the Raptors effort. Even with their best player gone and in a huge slump, still fought their way back to a playoff spot against all odds. Hakeem Olajuwon was signed this season too and it would be his final one as a professional.
1. 2000-01 - Without a doubt to me, the best season the Raptors had. Established a new record in wins for the franchise, Carter was selected for All-NBA second team and a 2nd consecutive All-Star appearance. The best highlights of that season came in the playoffs, as Alvin Williams clutch shot pushed the Raptors into the second round for the time in franchise history vs the Knicks. Carter also went off in Game 3 vs the Sixers, dropping 8 3's in half and a 51 point game... he was also getting some talk of being the best SG in the game (but off course, Iverson and Bryant seemed to clearly be ahead of him at the conclusion of the season).
All in all, I've seen to many lineup I recognize. The young and talented wing players/gritty interior defenders of the early 00's Raptors (Carter/Williams/Oakley/Davis/McGrady, etc...) and the not so long ago jump shooting/finesse team of the mid-late 00's Raptors (Bosh/Rasho/Ford/Parker/Calderon, etc...).
I would take the Carter era Raptors everyday over the Bosh era Raptors.