Projecting the Canadian Roster at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China
Canada’s time is here.
As the popularity of the sport of basketball grows nation-wide, the NBA calibre talent in the country grows as well. This is the golden age of Canadian basketball and with the FIBA World Cup coming up in September, Canada Basketball has the opportunity to make a statement which will be heard all around the world.
Led by NBA champion head coach Nick Nurse, Canada will have built its best roster to date, filled with young, talented and versatile NBA players.
Headlined by young stars Jamal Murray and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Canada will look to overcome the withdrawals of lottery pick RJ Barrett and big men Dwight Powell and Tristan Thompson. Probably the biggest Canadian basketball name hailing from Canada outside of Murray, Andrew Wiggins will not participate for the national team either.
So who will?
Who will round out the squad en route to China?
An invitee list that started at 29 names, Nurse and the program’s general manager Rowan Barrett will be tasked with finalizing a 12-man unit, which will hopefully lead Canada to its most successful international basketball run since a silver medal victory in the 1936 Olympic Games.
For those interested, Canada lost in the 1936 Finals to the Americans by a score of 19-8, in a basketball contest played on a grass court. It’s safe to say, things are a little bit different this time around and the Canadians are hungrier than ever to establish themselves as a household name in international basketball.
So without further adieu, let’s take a look at who will represent Canada Basketball when the international lights shine the brightest!
Despite his age, Jamal Murray has already established a name for himself on the Canadian international circuit. Much like Barrett, Murray was a standout on the U19 roster and the Kitchener, Ontario native even led Canada to a silver medal in the 2015 Pan-Am Games.
Rounding out the Canadian backcourt will be national team veteran Cory Joseph who will be joined by newcomer Gilgeous-Alexander and his cousin and New Orleans Pelicans rookie Nickeil Alexander-Walker. Rounding out the guards will be former G Leaguer for the 905, Brady Heslip, who while not owning the most impressive basketball resume, is a national team veteran and a highly regarded shooter.
The loaded Canadian front court will be able to overcome the losses of Powell and Thompson.
Team veterans Nik Stauskas and Kelly Olynyk will be back in the fold, while Coach Nurse will also bring a fellow Raptor in Chris Boucher along for the ride. Orlando’s athletic big man Khem Birch will join Boucher as Canada’s second center. Rounding out the front court will be the young and talented Dillon Brooks, Trey Lyles, and Brandon Clarke.
- G Jamal Murray, DEN
- G Cory Joseph, SAC
- G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, OKC
- G Nickeil Alexander-Walker, NOP
- G Brady Heslip, INTL
- F Dillon Brooks, MEM
- F Brandon Clarke, NOP
- F Trey Lyles, SAS
- F Nik Stauskas, INTL
- F Kelly Olynyk, MIA
- C Khem Birch, ORL
- C Chris Boucher, TOR
Just Missed the cut: Mariol Shayok (PHI), Mfiondu Kabengele (LAC), Oshae Brissett (TOR)