Since 2010, the Canadian men’s basketball team has seen a huge increase in Canadian players produced throughout the decade. As a result, it has been made possible to create an All-Decade team for the Canadian men’s basketball team. While the only NBA All-Star in the previous decade is Steve Nash, there is the hope of other NBA All-Stars in the present decade.
Canadian Men’s Basketball Team All-Decade Team in the 2010s
Canadian Men’s Basketball All-Decade Starters
Tristan Thompson – Center (2011-Present)
Two of his three best seasons took place early in his NBA career. In the 2012-13 NBA season, he averaged 11.7 points, 9.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.9 blocks per game. The following season he would average 11.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.5 steals, and 0.4 blocks per game. Furthermore, in the 2019-20 NBA season, he is currently averaging 10.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.4 blocks per game.
He also played a big role in the Cleveland Cavaliers 2016 NBA Championship run. In that post-season, he averaged 6.7 points and 9.0 rebounds per game.
Kelly Olynyk – Forward (2013-Present)
Kelly Olynyk has been in the NBA since 2013 and has provided a huge contribution to the Canadian basketball program. He is one of only two players on the Canadian All-Decade team who has always committed to playing for the Canadian men’s basketball team since the start of the decade. Olynyk also made the NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 2014.
He was drafted 13th in the 2013 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics. His best season with the Celtics was the 2014-15 NBA season where he averaged 10.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.0 steal, and 0.6 blocks per game. The best season he had in the NBA was with the Miami Heat in the 2017-18 NBA season. In that season, he averaged 11.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.5 blocks per game.
Furthermore, for Team Canada, he has been a key player. In the FIBA America Qualifiers for the 2016 Summer Olympics, Olynyk scored 34 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in a heartbreaking one-point loss to Venezuela that would have resulted in them qualifying for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio according to Canada Basketball.
Andrew Wiggins – Forward (2014-Present)
Andrew Wiggins was drafted first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2014 NBA draft. He is only the second Canadian NBA player to be drafted first. The other Canadian NBA player drafted first was Anthony Bennett who was drafted by the Cavaliers in 2013.
According to the NBA website, Wiggins was traded shortly after the NBA Draft. He, Bennett, and Thaddeus Young were traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a three-way trade. As a result, Wiggins never played for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
His best season was the 2016-17 NBA season, where he averaged 23.6 points, 4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1 steal, 0.4 blocks per game.
Wiggins was recently traded to the Golden State Warriors. For the first time in his career, he will be with a championship-contending team. Wiggins only made the NBA playoffs once with the Timberwolves. His accolades right now include winning the NBA Rookie of the Year award and being on the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2015.
Jamal Murray – Guard (2016-Present)
Jamal Murray was drafted seventh in the 2016 NBA Draft. It was a tough choice between him and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. They both can play the point guard or the shooting guard position. While Gilgeous-Alexander right now is the better NBA player, Murray has had a better NBA career.
A big reason is that Murray has been in the league longer than Gilgeous-Alexander. That is why Murray gets the nod over Gilgeous-Alexander as the starting shooting guard. He made the NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 2017.
Murray was drafted seventh in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets. He would make his breakthrough in his second season in the NBA. In the 2017-18 NBA season, he averaged 16.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.0 steal, and 0.3 blocks per game. Currently, in the 2019-20 NBA season, he is averaging 18.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.3 blocks per game.
He also stepped up in the 2019 NBA playoffs, where he averaged 21.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.0 steal, and 0.1 blocks per game.
Steve Nash – Guard (1996-2015)
It was not possible for both Gilgeous-Alexander and Murray to both be a starter. This was because Nash was the only Canadian to make the NBA All-Star Game in the last decade. He made it to the NBA All-Star Game in 2010 and 2012. Nash was drafted 15th in the 1996 NBA Draft.
In the 2009-10 NBA season, Nash averaged 16.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 11.0 assists, 0.5 steals, and 0.1 blocks per game for the Phoenix Suns. Furthermore, in that season, he was part of the prestigious “50-40-90 club.” This means that he averaged at least 50 percent field goal percentage, 40 percent three-point field goal percentage, and a 90 percent free throw percentage by the end of the regular season. There have been only eight players in NBA history to accomplish that feat.
His other NBA All-Star season came in the 2011-12 NBA season. In that season, he averaged 12.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 10.7 assists, 0.6 steals, and 0.1 blocks per game. He also showed his resolve in the playoffs having 17 points and 15 assists against the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2010 Western Conference Finals.
Canadian Men’s Basketball Team Bench Players
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Guard (2018-Present)
Gilgeous-Alexander is the best current Canadian basketball player in the NBA right now. The only reason he did not make the starting five was that Murray was in the NBA longer than Gilgeous-Alexander. He was drafted 11th in the 2018 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Clippers.
He played his rookie season with the Clippers averaging 10.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.5 blocks per game. With the Los Angeles Clippers, he was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 2019.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Clippers traded away Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, four future unprotected first-round picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Furthermore, the Thunder would get the right to swap future picks with the Clippers twice. In exchange, the Thunder received Gilgeous-Alexander, where he would shine in his sophomore season.
In the 2019-20 NBA season, he averaged 19.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.1 steals, and 0.7 blocks per game for the Oklahoma City Thunder. This includes getting a triple-double against the Timberwolves.
Cory Joseph – Guard (2011-Present)
Cory Joseph was drafted 29th in the 2011 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs. He became an NBA champion with the Spurs in 2014. His best seasons came with the Toronto Raptors. In the 2015-16 NBA season, he averaged 8.5 points, 2.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.3 blocks per game. In the following 2016-17 NBA season, he averaged 9.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.2 blocks per game.
He also played well for the Indiana Pacers in the 2018-19 NBA season, in that season he averaged a career-high in rebounds, assists, and steals per game.
Joseph is probably the best player for the Canadian men’s national basketball team in the last decade. An example would be his game-winning shot against Mexico to win bronze in the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship.
Dwight Powell – Guard (2014-Present)
Dwight Powell was drafted 45th overall by the Charlotte Hornets in the 2014 NBA draft according to NBA.com. However, he was traded to the Boston Celtics at NBA draft night. Unfortunately, for Powell, he was traded again to the Dallas Mavericks after only five games with the Celtics according to NBA.com.
His points per game have increased gradually each year. Furthermore, his highest points per game were in the 2018-19 NBA season, where he averaged 10.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.6 steals, and 0.6 blocks per game.
His points per game dipped to 9.4 points per game in the 2019-20 NBA season but currently has a career-high in total rebounds that season. Victor Galvez of ClutchPoints explains what makes Powell so special.
“There’s going to be times you feel like you have it figured out, and then you get smashed in the face. That’s just how it is. That’s how it was when I played in the league, but he always learns from the tough stretches. He’s a guy with great energy, and he goes extremely hard. He’s really loved by all his teammates. And I’m very happy for him that he was named to the Rising Stars Game, because he deserves it.”
Dillon Brooks – Forward/Guard (2017-Present)
Dillon Brooks is a story of an underdog. He was drafted 45th in the 2017 NBA draft by the Houston Rockets. According to Bruno Manrique of ClutchPoints, Brooks was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in a three-way trade where he remains. He had an impressive 2017-18 NBA season, averaged 11 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.9 steals, and 0.2 blocks per game. His stats though would take a dip in the 2018-19 NBA season.
However, in the 2019-20 NBA season, he took a huge step forward. Before the NBA suspended its season, he was averaging a career-high 15.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.9 steals, and 0.4 blocks per game.
Brandon Clarke – Forward (2019-Present)
Brandon Clarke was drafted 21st by the Memphis Grizzlies. However, his performance is worthy of being in the top 10 for NBA rookies. He is averaging 12 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.5 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game. The Memphis Grizzlies made two incredible NBA draft picks with Ja Morant and Clarke. This is a big reason why the Grizzlies are eighth in the western conference with a record of 32 wins and 33 losses.
Chris Boucher – Forward (2017-Present)
Quebec basketball is on the rise and Chris Boucher is one of three Quebec-based players making an impact in the NBA. Boucher was undrafted in the 2017 NBA draft but is a two-time NBA champion. He has won with both the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors. In the 2019-20 NBA season, he is averaging 6.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 0.4 steals, and 1.0 block per game for the Toronto Raptors.
His stats are deceiving though as he has stepped up when it mattered most. This was especially true with all the injuries the Raptors have gone through in the 2019-20 NBA season. For example, Boucher scored more than 20 points twice in December 2019. This includes having 21 points and four blocks against the Dallas Mavericks. He has played a big role in the Toronto Raptors holding the second position so far in the Eastern Conference with a record of 46 wins and 18 losses according to ESPN.
Samuel Dalembert – Center (2001-15)
Samuel Dalembert was drafted 26th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2001 NBA draft. His best seasons in the last decade were with the 76ers in 2009-10 and with the Sacramento Kings in 2010-11. In the 2009-10 NBA season, Dalembert averaged 8.1 points, 9.6 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.5 steals, and 1.8 blocks per game. Then in the 2010-11 NBA season with the Sacramento Kings, he averaged 8.1 points, 8.2 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.5 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game.
Lastly, he would also have a career-high in free-throw percentage and tie a career-high in steals in the 2011-12 NBA season with the Houston Rockets.
Overview of the Canadian Men’s Basketball All-Decade Team
Canadian men’s basketball has really taken off. It is a big reason why an article was even possible. The Toronto Raptors, Vince Carter, and even the Vancouver Grizzlies played a role in advancing Canadian basketball to what it is now. Not only are players coming from Ontario, where the Toronto Raptors reside in, but other provinces have also started playing basketball. Quebec, for example, has three players in the NBA.
The profile of Canadian basketball, in all likelihood, will increase with players like Karim Mane and Bennedict Mathurin possibly playing in the NBA. These two Quebec players, according to North Pole Hoops, are the top two Canadian players in high school and/or academies right now. Furthermore, Mane has declared himself eligible for the 2020 NBA draft according to Douglas Gelevan of CBC.
There are two professional basketball leagues in Canada. The professional winter league, the National Basketball League of Canada (NBL Canada) has teams in Ontario and all four Atlantic provinces of Canada. They also have a professional spring/summer league called the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL), which has teams in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan. The only two provinces that do not have a professional basketball team are Manitoba and Quebec.
The game in Canada has really grown in the last 25 years. Also, expect more NBA players to come from Canada. The effects of Toronto making the NBA playoffs every year since 2014, the Eastern Conference Finals appearances, winning the NBA Championship, and hosting NBA All-Star Game in 2016 will be ever-lasting.
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