Young Canadians Making their Mark on NBA Futures

canada basketball

This past June, Anthony Bennett became the first Canadian-born basketball player to be drafted first overall in the NBA Entry Draft. The Cleveland cavaliers surprised some people when they selected the freshman from UNLV with their first pick. Bennett was followed in the draft by fellow Canadian, Kelly Olynyk, selected by the Dallas Mavericks 13th overall as a junior out of Gonzaga.

Olynyk and Bennett join a list of only 11 Canadians currently playing in the best basketball league on earth, each doing what they can to help their respective teams’ NBA futures odds of winning. That list is led by notable veteran, Steve Nash, a two-time league MVP and eight-time NBA All Star.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have become a bit of a home away from home for Canadian players as Bennett joins former 2011 fourth overall pick, Tristan Thompson, on the rebuilding Cavs squad. But Bennett isn’t the only young player from our neighbor to the North who’s making waves in 2013. Andrew Wiggins from Thornhill, Ontario is making a name for himself in the basketball world.

Wiggins joined the Kansas Jayhawks basketball team over the summer and will be eligible for the NBA Entry Draft in 2014. The son of former NBAer Mitchell Wiggins and Marita Payne-Wiggins, a former member of the Canadians Women’s Olympic Track and Field team, Andrew is the consensus number one pick leading up to the draft. All signs point to him joining Bennett in the small but growing ranks of Canadian-born players to be picked in the number one spot.

Steve Nash is the only Canadian player to have ever won league MVP honors, and he’s done so twice. Only four Canadians have ever won an NBA championship, and only one, Bob Houbregs, is in the Hall of Fame — though one can imagine Nash will eventually be joining him there. No Canadian has ever won Rookie of the Year honors, but Anthony Bennett will make a push for the award in the upcoming NBA season. Young phenomenon, Andrew Wiggins, will have his shot soon enough.