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Jerome Williams probably isn't near the top of anyone's all time greatest Raptors list.

The 6-foot-9 forward played just four seasons in Toronto, averaging 7.9 points, 7 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. When Sportsnet and TSN came out with their 25 best Raptors for the team's 25th anniversary, Williams was ranked 24th and 25th respectively. He was a part of two Raptors playoff teams in 2001 and 2002, but looking at his Basketball-Reference page you won't find anything particularly notable about the man they called Junk Yard Dog.

The story, however, is very different when you talk to Raptors fans about their favourite Raptors. While Williams was never the most talented Raptor, he was without a doubt one of the most beloved Raptors in the early 2000s. So on National Puppy Day it only seems right to remember the Raptors' top dog.

When the Raptors swung the deal to get Williams on February 22, 2001, Toronto was hoping to get younger with an eye to the future. At the time, Williams was 27 years old and an interesting depth piece for the Pistons. The day after the deal, the Toronto Star called Williams a "Keon Clark clone," a comparison that in hindsight probably wasn't the nicest to Williams as Clark fizzled out of the league after just five seasons due in part to his battle with alcohol addiction.

At the very end of that Toronto Star article there's a paragraph that came to define Williams' down-to-earth style that Torontonians fell in love with.

"As the Junk Yard Dog (as Williams is known) always says, I never leave anything out and I'm packing as we speak," he told the Star. "The planes don't fly but I can put gas in my truck, you know what I mean?"

Years later the full story was fleshed out in a Toronto Life article by Adam Sternbergh who reported that the Raptors offered to send Williams a private plane to pick him up in Detroit and take him to Toronto the following day, but Williams rejected the offer and opted to drive through the night instead.

"I found out about the trade at seven, I got home at nine, and we were out the door by 10," Williams told Sternbergh. "My wife was right with me. She had to pack a small bag, too. You know, women take longer. If it was just me, it would have been five minutes. But I had to give her the customary hour of preparation."

Williams brought that same mentality to the floor. He was never the most talented player, but he was rarely out-hustled and loved getting under the skin of opposing players.

In December 2001, Doug Smith wrote about Williams' style in the Star:

"It would be so easy to discount the contribution Jerome Williams makes to the Toronto Raptors, so easy to label him the chief cheerleader and rabble-rouser who simply runs willy-nilly all over the court whenever he gets a chance," Smith wrote.

"So easy and so wrong.

"Sure, he's going to wave a towel to jazz up the fans now and then; he's going to toss his T-shirt into the stands and raise his arms to try to get the folks in a frenzy; but he's also going to get on the court and make a very large pest of himself."

In that same article Williams' described his own style:

"I give defence 30 per cent skill and 70 per cent all-out hustle and heart," he told the Star. "It just takes intensity to get things accomplished on defence."

That kind of player has always been loved by Raptors fans. Today it's Kyle Lowry, the Raptors 33-year-old point guard who plays the 'dog' role. He's far more talented than Williams ever was, but his hard nose play often goes under appreciated by the basketball world.

So once in a while it's worth reflecting on the dogs who have fans have fallen for over the course of Raptors history.