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Canadians in the NBA

Canadians in the NBA: Ballers of the Great White North

Basketball in Canada has been steadily growing for years, and the country is now reaping the rewards with tons of players spread across NCAA Division I programs and 23 Canadian hoopers in the NBA.

Canada is now responsible for roughly 5 percent of the players who make up the league, a huge achievement for the country. There’s no sign of that share of NBA talent shrinking any time soon – in fact, quite the opposite – and it’s possible we’ll be talking about an even greater amount of Canadians cashing NBA checks in five years from now

But this is what the Great White North has in the NBA right now, so let’s take a look at all 23 of those Canadians who have found a spot on a league roster now and check out how they got here.

Canadians in the NBA, 2021-22

Nickeil Alexander-Walker

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

University: Virginia Tech

Drafted: R1, Pick 17 (2019)

Current Team: New Orleans Pelicans (2019–present)

The routine starter for the Pelicans is currently averaging an impressive 31 minutes and 16 points per game. He’s shooting 38% from the floor and a career-high 80% from the line.

Dalano Banton

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

University: WKU/Nebraska

Drafted: R2, Pick 46 (2021)

Current Team: Toronto Raptors (2021–present)

A role player for the Raptors, Banton is averaging 13 minutes while contributing 5 points per game. He was the first-ever Canadian to be drafted by the Raptors.

RJ Barrett

Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario

University: Duke

Drafted: R1, Pick 3 (2019)

Current Team: New York Knicks (2019–present)

Now in his third year, Barrett is performing well above his rookie numbers but is lagging behind his stellar 2020-21 season. One of the league’s bright young stars, he narrowly missed the NBA All-Rookie team in 2019.

Khem Birch

Hometown: Montreal, Quebec

University: Pitt/UNLV

Drafted: Undrafted (2014)

Current Team: Toronto Raptors (2021–present)

A true journeyman, Birch was a D-League All Star in 2015 before bouncing around summer leagues, the Turkish Super League, and eventually the Greek Basketball League. After truly earning his way to the NBA, the Canadian established himself with the Orlando Magic before his current post as one of the top players for the Raptors.

Chris Boucher

Hometown: Montreal, Quebec

University: Oregon

Drafted: Undrafted (2017)

Current Team: Toronto Raptors (2018–present)

Originally drafted by the Golden State Warriors, Boucher found his stride playing for the Raptors G League affiliate (Raptors 905). He won several awards in the G League before cracking his current role as a rotational player for Toronto.

Ignas Brazdeikis

Hometown: Oakville, Ontario

University: Michigan

Drafted: R2, Pick 47 (2019)

Current Team: Orlando Magic (2021–present)

The former Michigan star has had a hard time finding a home in the NBA. In his three seasons he has played for the Knicks, 76ers, and Magic organizations. He is currently on a two-way contract with the Magic.

Oshae Brissett

Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario

University: Syracuse

Drafted: Undrafted (2019)

Current Team: Indiana Pacers (2021–present)

As an undrafted player, Brissett got his start with the Raptors organization but struggled to find a consistent role. He was eventually waived before playing 12 games in the G League. In 2021, he signed consecutive 10-day contracts with the Pacers and impressed them enough to secure a three-year deal.

Dillon Brooks

Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario

University: Oregon

Drafted: R2, Pick 45 (2017)

Current Team: Memphis Grizzlies (2017–present)

A staple for the Grizzlies organization, Brooks has appeared in more than 200 games, averaging 28 minutes for the team. When healthy, he is one of the league’s better forwards.

Brandon Clarke

Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia

University: Gonzaga

Drafted: R1, Pick 21 (2019)

Current Team: Memphis Grizzlies (2019–present)

The 2020 NBA All-Rookie First-Team member has been a force for the Grizzlies. While he may not start many games, he still contributes 23 minutes on average. Clarke is an animal off of the bench.

Luguentz Dort

Hometown: Montreal, Quebec

University: Arizona State

Drafted: Undrafted (2019)

Current Team: Oklahoma City Thunder (2019–present)

Dort has recently found his stride, putting up some fantastic performances for the Thunder. Originally on a two-way contract, he signed a four-year deal in 2020 and has solidified his role as an important piece in the Thunders future.

Chris Duarte

Hometown: Montreal, Quebec

University: Oregon

Drafted: R1, Pick 13 (2021)

Current Team: Indiana Pacers (2021–present)

Duarte’s NBA career is off to a great start as he’s averaging 32 minutes per game as a rookie. He’s had an immediate impact on a middling Pacers team.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Hometown: Hamilton, Ontario

University: Kentucky

Drafted: R1, Pick 11 (2018)

Current Team: Oklahoma City Thunder (2019–present)

One of the better Canadians on this list, Gilgeous-Alexander has established himself as a staple in the NBA. Over the past four seasons, his minutes have steadily increased to more than 30 per game and he’s averaging better than 20 points per night over the last two campaigns.

Cory Joseph

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

University: Texas

Drafted: R1, Pick 29 (2011)

Current Team: Detroit Pistons (2021–present)

The journeyman point guard has played in more than 650 professional games for five different franchises over the past 10 years. He currently serves as the back-up point guard for the Detroit Pistons.

Trey Lyles

Hometown: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

University: Kentucky

Drafted: R1, Pick 12 (2015)

Current Team: Detroit Pistons (2021–present)

Lyles was part of the absolutely stacked Kentucky team that had seven players declare for the NBA Draft. After the Utah Jazz selected him, he bounced around before ending up on the Pistons. A career 18-minute-per-game contributor, Lyles has seen his production continually improve.

Mychal Mulder

Hometown: Windsor, Ontario

University: Kentucky

Drafted: Undrafted (2017)

Current Team: Orlando Magic (2021-present)

Mulder went undrafted out of Kentucky and spent his first three seasons in the NBA G League. He signed a contract with the Golden State Warriors in 2020 but struggled to make a meaningful impact. After being waived before the 2021 season, he ended up signing with the Orlando Magic, where he’s averaging 3 minutes per game.

Jamal Murray

Hometown: Kitchener, Ontario

University: Kentucky

Drafted: R1, Pick 7 (2016)

Current Team: Denver Nuggets (2016–present)

Murray is in his sixth season with the Nuggets. During his rookie campaign, he saw action in all 82 games but only started 10. Since that rookie season, he has started in all but two games he was healthy for. He is currently injured rehabbing a torn ACL.

Kelly Olynyk

Hometown: Kamploops, British Columbia

University: Gonzaga

Drafted: R1, Pick 13 (2013)

Current Team: Detroit Pistons (2021–present)

The Pistons sure do like Canadians, as Kelly is one of three players from Canada on the team. The former Gonzaga star has had successful runs in Boston and Miami before his current role off the bench for Detroit.

Eugene Omoruyi

Hometown: Orangeville, Ontario

University: Rutgers/Oregon

Drafted: Undrafted (2021)

Current Team: Dallas Mavericks (2021–present)

Currently on a two-way rookie contract, Omoruyi is splitting time between the NBA and the G League.

Kevin Pangos

Hometown: Holland Landing, Ontario

University: Gonzaga

Drafted: Undrafted (2015)

Current Team: Cleveland Cavaliers (2021-present)

Pangos spent the first five years of his career playing basketball in Europe before singing his first NBA contract with the Cavaliers in September 2021.

Dwight Powell

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

University: Stanford

Drafted: R2, Pick 45 (2014)

Current Team: Dallas Mavericks (2014–present)

The eight-year NBA center has played in more than 400 games, starting roughly 100 of those contests. The rotational center averages almost 19 minutes per game for his career.

Joshua Primo

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

University: Alabama

Drafted: R1, Pick 12 (2021)

Current Team: San Antonio Spurs (2021–present)

The Alabama grad is in his rookie season with the San Antonio Spurs and has played in just three games thus far.

Tristan Thompson

Hometown: Brampton, Ontario

University: Texas

Drafted: R1, Pick 4 (2011)

Current Team: Sacramento Kings (2021–present)

The 10-year NBA vet has an NBA championship (2016) on his resume. He spent nine years with the Cavaliers, starting a majority of the games he was healthy. In 2020-21, he played for Boston and currently comes off of the bench for the Sacramento Kings.

Andrew Wiggins

Hometown: Concord, Ontario

University: Kansas

Drafted: 1st Overall, 2014

Current Team: Golden State Warriors (2020–present)

The former Kansas All-American established himself in the NBA with the Timberwolves. The current Golden State Warrior has started all 525 of his professional games and scored more than 10,000 points in the NBA.

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