After winning a ring with the San Antonio Spurs and inking a four year free agent deal, Cory Joseph was ready and excited to represent for his hometown Toronto Raptors.
Born in Toronto and growing up in Pickering, Ontario, Joseph was destined to be a basketball player. His parents met as students athletes at Mount Royal College, both playing for their respective basketball teams. Two of Joseph’s second cousins also played college basketball. Kris, who played for Syracuse and was drafted by the Boston Celtics in the second round of the 2012 draft, and Maurice, who played for Michigan and Vermont. With that being said, basketball runs in Cory’s blood. He would later play for the Scarborough Blues with future NBA player Kelly Olynyk. This team rarely lost in the late 1990s and early 2000s. There was one game lost by this team that was memorable, coming against Steph Curry, point guard of the Golden State Warriors, and the rival Toronto 5-0. Fast forward to his college career. Joseph played at the University of Texas in his freshman year before declaring for the NBA draft, where the point guard was taken 29th overall by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2011 draft.
On February 4, 2013, Joseph was named to the Prospects All-Star roster for the 2013 D-League All-Star game. Unfortunately, he would have to be replaced due to injury. Cory would make his comeback in late February, however, where he became the starting point guard for the San Antonio Spurs after Tony Parker sustained an injury. This was a great opportunity for him to get a taste of what the NBA was like and to impress on the big stage. Joseph would help to bring the Spurs to the NBA Finals again the Miami Heat, only to lose in seven games.
A rematch of the 2013 NBA Finals would take place the following year, only this time Joseph’s Spurs came out on top, sweeping the Heat in 4 games. Because of the important role Joseph played and could play in the future, the Spurs extended to him a qualifying offer in order to make him a restricted free agent. The team would later withdraw the offer. On July 9, 2015, Cory Joseph signed a 4 year/$30M contract with his hometown Toronto Raptors and made his debut in the season opener on October 28th. When he joined the team, the Raptors had made the playoffs for the first time in 2014, ending a long drought, but have yet to win a championship.
FUN FACT: Joseph’s best game performance came on January 17th this season. He scored a career high 33 points in a 119-109 win over the Brooklyn Nets.
Since 2014, the Raptors have proved to have successful seasons under their current manager Dwayne Casey. Their success should continue if the players can remain healthy and maintain good productivity. Last season was the furthest they have ever made it in the playoffs. The Raptors proved to be fierce competitors, only to be taken down by LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers, who would go on to win the NBA Finals. The Raptors are one key acquisition away from claiming their first championship in franchise history. This past trade deadline, the Raptors acquired Serge Ibaka and PJ Tucker. Things seemed to be going in a good direction for the Raptors until Lowry would be sidelined to the end of the season with a wrist injury that would require surgery. With that, the Raptors hit a rough skid, but have since recovered. If the Raptors can pull it together down the stretch, they will be able to make the playoffs for the fourth season in a row.