CanCon

Canadian Roundup: Potential Team Canada members off to a promising start this NBA season

The Canadian Men's National Team is scheduled to participate in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament at the end of June.

In fact, they'll be hosting it in Victoria, B.C. from June 29 to July 4.

If Canada wins the tournament they'll punch their ticket to the now 2021 Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo. Anticipation has been high for the Summer Games for quite some time given the talent that Canada has seen enter the NBA over the last couple of years. And so far, Canada's NBA talent has given even the most pessimistic Canadian basketball fan hope that even with just a handful of the country's NBA talent, Canada can prevail and make their first Olympic Games since 2000.

Let's take a look at how some of the potential National Team members have done to start their NBA season.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

We have to start with Gilgeous-Alexander.

The Thunder have now become his team in just his third year in the league and so far he's proven he can carry the heavy load of performing as the guy. SGA is averaging a career-high 21.6 points and 6.2 assists per game while shooting 50.8 percent from the field and 37.3 percent from 3.

We knew SGA had the potential to put up career-high numbers given the extra shot attempts but the fact that he's done it while upping his efficiency is uber impressive. He's also shown the ability to get to the line consistently, getting fouled on 14.6 percent of his shot attempts, which ranks him in the 91st percentile for his position according to Cleaning The Glass.

With the extra shots comes extra attention from opposing teams, and so far SGA has accepted the challenge and responded as cool as only he can.

Jamal Murray

Murray's bubble explosion had many hoping it would carry over to the regular season. So far it has. Of course, not to the extent of him dropping 50-burgers on a nightly basis, but we have seen the causal 30-point outbursts from Murray this season.

Murray has scored at least 30 points in three of the 12 Nuggets games he's appeared in this year. He scored 30 or more just six times in his 59 regular-season appearances last year.

The key for Murray is not the big scoring outburst but to find a level of consistency and have fewer pedestrian outings. If he can do that, the Nuggets will be right back in the mix for a deep playoff run.

Andrew Wiggins

The bar for what success looks like for Wiggins is much lower than what it was when he entered the league. That being said, he's been playing well in Golden State to start the year.

Wiggins is averaging 17.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists while shooting a career-high 38.6 percent from 3. The offensive numbers are good, but we know Wiggins at his best is capable of doing that in his sleep. Where he's shown some promise is on the defensive end.

He frustrated Kawhi Leonard, holding him to shooting 16.7 percent from the field over two games, according to NBA Stats matchup data. He kept CJ McCollum, who was off to a hot start this season before getting injured, to just 38.5 percent shooting from the field in the Warriors' two contest against the Blazers. We're seeing a more engaged Wiggins defensively than we have before.

There's still room for growth - we also need to see it for an entire season - but we'll give credit where it's due.

Luguentz Dort

Dort has played less than 50 games in his NBA career and he's already one of the five best defenders in the league. That's not normal.

Dort is so good defensively that he's turned into a scouting report item on his own. Like other great defenders in the league such as Rudy Gobert, Anthony Davis and Ben Simmons, opposing offences have to know where Dort is and try to stay away from him.

On top of that, Dort is producing offensively. The Montrealer is averaging 12.8 points while shooting 46.0 percent from the field and more importantly 43.1 percent from 3. His 3-point percentage will likely come back down to earth a bit but the fact that he's shown the ability to knock down the long ball at a high volume shows that Dort has so much more to offer than lockdown defence.

Can't wait to see how Nick Nurse and the Canada Basketball coaching staff unleashes Dort on opposing teams in the summertime should Dort choose to play.

Other notables...

Chris Boucher - Boucher is off to an incredible start this season. NBA.com's Scott Rafferty highlighted six stats to know about Boucher so far. He's making a case for best Canadian big in the NBA.

Dillion Brooks - Brooks' jumper has been inconsistent this season, but his fearlessness and all-around swagger continue to be at the core of the Grizzlies' development as they try and claw into the postseason.

Brandon Clarke - Speaking of jumpers, Clarke's revamped jimmy gives me nightmares. It's killed his efficiency and made him seem like he's overthinking every shot attempt instead of just hooping. He's still producing at 13.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, but if he hadn't tinkered with his jumper I wonder what his 3-point percentage would be.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker - Nickeil may be the hardest working Canadian in the league. NAW is a basketball junky and you can rest assured that at the end of his career he'll make sure he maximizes his potential by putting the work in. He's getting the opportunity to prove himself in New Orleans under Stan Van Gundy. His stats have been impressive with the extra playing time he's receiving but his defence has especially stood out early on.

RJ Barrett - I did a deep dive on Barrett's season so far. It's early but finding consistency in his jumper is holding him back at the moment.

Dwight Powell - Good to see how Powell was moving around post-Achilles injury. Seems like he's back to normal, which should be a good thing for the Mavericks and an even better thing for Team Canada.

Karim Mane - Last but not least shout out to Mane who got his first bucket in the NBA against the Celtics last week. More life and more buckets, Karim.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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