There’s no overlooking the growth of basketball in Canada. Over the years, NBA enthusiasts have seen the result extremely evident with the number of Canadian players on the rosters, making the country the second-most represented nation outside of the United States.
According to Betway Insider, 29 Canadian basketball players are currently in the NBA, a major jump from 18 in the last four years. The same article from Betway states that the consistent growth in the number of Canadian NBA talent is a sure sign that these are just the beginning steps for Canada to finally and quickly solidify itself as a basketball powerhouse.
This article looks at some of the best Canadian basketball players in the NBA.
- Jamal Murray
When thinking of shooters and shooting guards, none come close to Jamal Murray, the Canadian basketball wiz. Good ball-handlers need Jamal Murray on their team and around them during play. Jamal is a 25-year-old combo guard who consistently puts out good numbers whenever he finds himself in the playoffs. In 2020, Jamal Murray averaged 26.5 points, and 6.6 assists on the route, scoring an outburst of 50, 42, and 20 points against the Utah Jazz within the first-round series.
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Shai Gilgeous-Alexanderhas been tagged the best Canadian basketball player in the world today for a good reason. This 24-year-old Ontario native is just a few points above Jamal Murray, and his skills only improve as he grows. Currently, SGA, as he is popularly known, is a lead ball-handler for TeamCanada and the Oklahoma City Thunder, where his innate gift of controlling the game (and being a master manipulator) serve him well, much to the chagrin of his competitors. With SGA, you can never pre-determine his actions, as he keeps you guessing, baiting you with the step-back or hesitation dribble, promising to take the shot if his opponents give him enough room.
- Benedict Mathurin
Montreal native Benedict Mathurin has a lot of great opportunities with his move to the Indiana Pacers. While the source believes he may be a longshot for Rookie of the year, he does have incredible skills that allow him to prove himself to be one of the best.
Mathurin is averaging 6.6 free-throw attempts per game, the 12th most in the league. Through 18 contests, he has averaged 19.4 points per game, making him a small forward and shooting guard opponents always have to look out for.
According to Betway, it is now easier for younger basketball fanatics to get discovered, thanks to big platforms such as social and digital media. There are currently several Canadian kids playing basketball, with the existing talent growing tremendously. More talent means better competition, and better competition does nothing short of moving the basketball game forward.
- Andrew Wiggins
Andrew Wiggins might have refused to commit to Team Canada, but his skills and growth in the NBA cannot be ignored. Andrew is a part of a strong list of forward power players, averaging 18/9/2 in the NBA finals and improving as a jump-shooter drastically within the last three seasons. Wiggins was instrumental in the Golden States Warriors‘ win against the Boston Celtics, hitting 39.3 percent of his threes while learning how to become the best rebounder for his team. His consistent growth becomes even more evident today, as he’s playing wonderfully in the space that Klay Thompson and Steph Curry provide for him.
- RJ Barrett- Small Forward
RJ Barrett, a 6-foot, 22-year-old, is one of the few Canadian players better equipped to slow down the elite wings of the NBA. This 214-pound player does wonders in the small forward position, offering defense like no other. He’s slowly developing into a more versatile and stronger defender within the NBA, despite the lack of infrastructure he derives from playing for the New York Knicks. The 22-year-old Barrett is one of the few players who can combine all skills- defending, driving, finishing, and three-point shooting to give a team their best season.