Calderon Hits 5,000 Points With Raptors
It was August 5, 2005 when the then 24-year-old Jose Calderon was signed as a free agent point guard by the Toronto Raptors. Now in his eighth NBA season, Calderon has written his name all over the franchise’s record books and on Tuesday night in Cleveland, he scored his 5,000 point as a Raptor. Raptors head coach Dwane Casey described what Calderon has meant to the team.
“He means a lot,” Casey said. “My hat is off to Jose. He knows how much I respect him. He means a lot to this organization and represents what this game is all about. He’s unselfish. He has an unselfish approach to the game, to life; there is not a bad bone in that guy’s body. He will get after you, he try to attack you on the court, but he is what you should represent in the NBA, that you want your players to represent in this league.”
Currently, Calderon is the fifth leading scorer all-time in Toronto.
Last season, Calderon reached 3,000 assists with the Raptors and presently has more than twice the number of assists of any current or former player with the team. The longest serving active player in Toronto and a pass-first point guard his entire career; Calderon has earned the respect of his teammates.
“I can tell you one thing about Jose, he is just a positive guy,” DeMar DeRozan said. “He gets everybody involved. He knows the game. He is going to help everybody out and get everybody going. He is the most unselfish player that I have played with.”
Calderon will pass Chris Bosh for the second most games played in a Raptors uniform before the end of this calendar year and he is on target to pass Morris Peterson for the most games ever by the end of this season. He owns the team’s best free throw shooting percentage by a wide margin and is top 10 all-time in field goals, field goals attempted, three-point field goals, three-point field goals attempted, free throws, free throws attempted, field goal percentage, three-point field goal percentage, defensive rebounds and steals.
With the constant trade rumors and media commentary about what Calderon can’t do, it always seems to surprise opposing coaches that Toronto doesn’t seem to realize what they have.
“I don’t know why you guys are surprised,” Pistons head coach Lawrence Frank said. “You guys have watched [Calderon] for eight years. I mean [Calderon] is a damn good player. Think about his international experience playing for Spain. [You have] seen him in playoff performances. He’s got great moxy. I have always had a great deal of respect for him. He’s a super competitor.”
Calderon has always been someone who deflects comments away from his personal accomplishments, but this milestone seems to have finally hit a nostalgic nerve with the very reserved Spanish guard. Calderon has always appreciated his opportunity to play for Toronto and his time in the NBA.
“I think that it always good to have those numbers there,” Calderon said. “I realize that it might be later when you stop playing basketball, but being here all that time – it has become tough to be all that time on one team and I am happy to do it. There are not a lot of players who play on the same team and get those achievements. It is something that we will talk about further in time. I never knew how long I was going to be in NBA or even if I was going to be able to play, so it is even better. It’s been eight years now and I am really happy to be here for that long.”
Reaching 5,000 points with one’s original team has become an important milestone in a league where most players end up changing teams several times. It is even more significant for a pass-first point guard who has become better known for making everyone else better rather than looking for his own shot.