The game of basketball was invented by a Canadian-American physical educator in 1891 named James Naismith.
Ever since it has been the USA that have been dominating the game, but there is an emergence of solid Canadian players coming into the NBA for now a few years. Would an All-Canadian team be able to compete in today's NBA? That's a question that was roaming in my head for a little bit and I decided to lay down a roster of the best current Canadian NBA players and see for myself.
Cory Joseph - Former Spurs champion and Raptors Eastern Conference Finalist, he however was never given a real shot at being a starter and never averaged more than 25 minutes per game in a season. He is a real playmaker, a team player, excellent defender, selfless, who doesn't care about numbers, he is just here to do what is required from him to make the team win. The 26 year-old PG of the Indiana Pacers deserves to be a starter and if I was in charge of making an All-Canadian NBA Team, he would be my starter Point Guard.
Jamal Murray - Perfect combo guard, efficient in both positions, and already a starter in his sophomore year at 20 years of age. This 6'4 athlete is an all-around player who is strong and mature enough to make a difference in crunch time. This season he is averaging 16.6PPG with 45.5% Shooting and 93.4% at the Free Throw line.
Shooting guard/Small Forward:
Dillon Brooks - Definitely one of the most impressive Rookies of the season 2017-18. He has shown his Grizzlies teammates that he was able to be clutch many times already, with a very decent 3PT Field Goal average of 37.7%. I would take this young man in my fictional All-Canadian NBA roster with no hesitation.
Andrew Wiggins - One of the most athletic player in the league, his dunks over Centers like Rudy Gobert are already legendary. He is an excellent scorer who is definitely a major part of the reason why the Timberwolves are going to make the playoffs this year after hitting rock bottom for the last couple of years. His career average is 19.9PPG on 44.8FG%, but let's also remember the addition of Jimmy Butler in the Wolves' roster who certainly took the ball off his hands, at least for now. Andrew is 22 years old, and plays more than 35 minutes per game in a team rising to the top of the Western Conference, him being a key component of this rise. So I have no doubt that this man will become an Elite NBA player, and possibly champion before he retires.
Kelly Olynyk - No longer a stranger to the league, although he may never reach the All-Star level, he puts in necessary numbers - 11 PPG; 5 RPG - with only 23 minutes per game. He is one of those players that is not used to his full potential, or can get easily overshadowed by other teammates. I enjoy building odd rosters filled with bench players on 2K Blacktop to see if my assumption that some players are underrated is somehow correct. I should try to build this All-Canadian roster...
Trey Lyles - A very interesting improvement for this Jazz player, he currently averages 10.9PPG with 5.3RPG on 50.1% shooting. That's more than decent for 20 minutes per game, and playing with the Jazz who is definitely one of the rising young teams in the West can only make him better. This PF is 22 and he would be a great player to share time equally with Olynyk.
Dwight Powell - Another lion held in a cage. Averaging 7 points and 5 rebounds on 59.4FG% with only 19 minutes played per game. As he turned 26 I believe it is the time to unleash his fury on the court.
Tristan Thompson: He's been in the league for almost 7 years and we tend to forget that he is still 26 only, which for a lot of NBA players is not even the peak yet. He hasn't shown signs of improvement this season, but still remains the most iconic Canadian Center to play in the NBA right now. Sharing rotation with Dwight Powell and Kelly Olynyk as they both can play the Center position would make an interesting power house at the post. I personally think he belongs somewhere else than the Cavs, at least as long as Kevin Love is there.
I don't like to see young talents held as role players to let veterans shine. Not that they would do better than some veterans but because they are being restricted and cannot exploit their full potential. That's how underrated players are born, it's all these players who were stuck in a system where they never were given the chance to shine. When it's to win championships it makes sense, but when there is no more rings in sight, if you are not emotionally attached to the city or team, I think you're better off trying to go in a team where your talent will be fully appreciated. This is just my opinion, but I would definitely see Tristan with the Lakers or the Bucks, in a team of young players that is rebuilding.
Overall, most of these players are still young, the rise of Canadian ballers is just starting, Steve Nash is gone so he couldn't make this roster unless it was a celebrity or pickup game... I think if this roster would enter the NBA right now, there would be some struggle for a couple of years, during which they would mature and build chemistry, but eventually they would become a success and rise in the same way the Timberwolves, the Jazz or the Bucks are coming out to become serious playoffs contenders.
How do you think this team would perform in today's NBA?