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The one-hit wonders: Whatever happened to Toronto Raptors’ Mike James?

Mike James played like a man on a mission in Toronto Raptors. After that, he went back to being a role player for other NBA teams.
The one-hit wonders: Whatever happened to Toronto Raptors’ Mike James?

Mike James had the skills of creating his shot and possessed decent outside shooting but was deemed too small for the shooting guard position

The one-hit wonders series examines what happened to players who played like stars for a brief moment and then faded away quickly. It could be due to injuries, lack of playing time, or problems off the court. The first one-hit wonder we'll look closely at is Toronto Raptors' Mike James.

The rise of Mike James

Mike Lamont James played for Duquesne University and put up decent numbers there. He became the all-time leader in steals and was fifth in assists and 10th in points. The numbers were more than enough to make NBA scouts interested in his potential. He had the skills of creating his shot and possessed decent outside shooting but was deemed too small for the shooting guard position.

Mike got his first crack at the NBA playing for the Miami Heat in 2001. He registered unimpressive averages of 7 points and 2.3 assists per game in his two years there. The Copiague, New York native, bounced from team to team, suiting up for Minnesota Timberwolves, Houston Rockets, Washington Wizards, Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans Hornets, Detroit Pistons, and Chicago Bulls. However, he was in his best form playing for the Toronto Raptors.

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In his lone season as a Raptor, James put up 20.3 points and 5.3 assists per game, both career-highs. Mike was what the team needed at the time. His scoring outburst out of nowhere helped the team in the aftermath of the Vince Carter trade. However, his decline was as fast as he rose in the ranks of what would be next-in-line stars in the league.

One season wonder: what happened?

What the scouts said about him, he proved them right in Toronto. James took shots to his heart's content. He made 42 percent of his shots in his stint there. After James' breakout season, he signed for a team that offered the most significant raise of his career but unfortunately, he couldn't replicate his success in Toronto. Mike Lamont James went from averaging border All-Star numbers to 10.1 points per game in Minnesota. The disappointment in the Wolves front office and the fans was understandable. How could a player play well for one season and become mediocre in just a year?

In Toronto, he got all the opportunities he wanted. Sometimes, that's what a player needs to show what he's got. James might have displayed star-like potential, but that's as far as his career goes, proving that the NBA superstars are on a different level. Playing well for several years in the league is another topic for discussion.

The Raptors fans were treated to a Mike James show for a season, giving them something to look forward to in the games after Vinsanity. Mike would go down as one of the one-hit wonders in the league, but it gave him a chance to prolong his career and make millions in the process. Whatever the record books say about him, the Duquesne University standout was a clear winner as he laughed his way to the bank. On top of that, James became an NBA champion as part of the 2004 Detroit Pistons squad. Even if he's a one-hit wonder, James accomplished what many players could only dream of in the most competitive league in the world. 

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