Two Canadians who were selected by teams and then traded at the NBA Draft. A collection of Canadians looking to showcase their talents in Summer League action. NBA players with ties to the Great White North involved in the tip-off of free agency on Canada Day weekend. And another NBA championship for one-time Toronto school hoops sensation Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors.
They were all significant storylines in a busy June around the NBA. The Harvey's Canadian Report is back again to provide all of the details.
Canadian in the middle of Draft Night dealing
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a 19-year-old from Hamilton, became the eighth Canadian lottery pick in the history of the NBA Draft after being picked 11th overall by the Charlotte Hornets. Minutes later, the LA Clippers acquired the draft rights to Gilgeous-Alexander by sending the draft rights to Michigan State forward Miles Bridges and two future second-round picks to the Hornets.
Gilgeous-Alexander was considered to be the best point guard in the draft after an impressive second half to his rookie season at the University of Kentucky.
He came off the bench for the Wildcats in the first half of the season before making his way into the starting lineup, averaging 16.4 points a game the rest of the way.
"The world's starting to realize how good we are at basketball"- NBA Canada (@NBACanada) June 22, 2018
- @shaiglalex on Canadian Basketball 🇨🇦 #NBADraft pic.twitter.com/PxixOnawGP
Toronto native Justin Jackson was the second Canadian selected. The 21-year-old is off to Orlando - to play alongside fellow Canadian Khem Birch - after being drafted 43rd overall by the Denver Nuggets and traded to the Magic.
Jackson declared for the draft last year but withdrew his name to return to Maryland for another season. His college career ended in late December, however, after a bad shoulder injury which affected his draft stock.
Boucher on Summer League must-watch list
The newly drafted Gilgeous-Alexander is just one of the 11 Canadians expected to see court time in the 2018 Summer leagues.
This year, Utah and Sacramento will each host a four-team league from July 2-5, before all 30 teams compete in the MGM Resorts Las Vegas Summer League for the first time in history from July 6-17.
Canadian hoops diehards will have a few players to follow, including:
Chris Boucher will be joining the Raptors' Summer League roster after being waived by the Warriors. The seven-foot Montreal-native has yet to play an NBA game, but averaged 11.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game with Santa Cruz last year in the G-League.
Khem Birch will look to make a splash in the summer league after having his first season under his belt. Another native Montrealer, Birth averaged 4.2 points and 4.3 rebounds in 42 games with the Orlando Magic in his rookie season. And in 21 games with the G League affiliate, he poured in 14 points per game.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes spent most his season with the Westchester Knicks, the G League affiliate of the Memphis Grizzlies, where he averaged 16.7 points, 7.2 assists and 6.4 rebounds per game. This summer he will try to impress the LA Lakers as he suits up for their Summer League team.
Brady Heslip spent last year playing in a Turkish professional league averaging 16 points per game. After going undrafted in 2014, Heslip has floated around playing in Summer Leagues and for G League teams, including the Raptors 905 where he won a D League Championship. This year, the sharpshooter is hoping to make a lasting impression on the Memphis Grizzlies.
Here are the rest of the Canadians suiting up for summer hoops:
- Trae Bell-Haynes (Milwaukee Bucks)
- Phil Scrubb (Washington Wizards)
- Naz Mitrou-Long (Utah Jazz)
- Kyle Wiltjer (Portland Trail Blazers)
- MiKyle McIntosh (Trail Blazers)
- Olivier Hanlan (San Antonio Spurs)
The status of newly drafted Justin Jackson is not known as he still recovers from a shoulder injury.
Coach Casey walks away with NBA Awards honour
Although he is no longer with the Toronto Raptors, Dwane Casey was honoured as the NBA Coach of the Year after leading the Raptors to their best regular season in franchise history.
Dwane Casey gets announced as the 2017/2018 Coach of the Year!#NBAAwards pic.twitter.com/e9SAoTlGNL- NBA Canada (@NBACanada) June 26, 2018
Casey, who was relieved of his duties in May after Toronto was swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference semifinals, led the Raptors to a 59-23 record in 2017-2018. He was the first coach in team history to coach at the NBA All-Star Game and is the only Toronto coach to record 300 wins.
And another former Raptor was recognized in Vegas. Lou Williams won his second Sixth Man of the Year award for his production coming off the bench for the LA Clippers. Williams averaged a career-best 22.6 points for the Clippers last season.
After winning the 2017-18 #KiaSixth Man of the Year... we showcase @TeamLou23's TOP 10 PLAYS of the season! pic.twitter.com/4dtxCZOf0G- NBA (@NBA) June 26, 2018
Williams edged out reigning Sixth Man honoree Eric Gordon and current Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet for the award. The NBA veteran won the award in 2014-15 when he averaged 15.5 points in his only season as a Raptor.
Let the Free Agency Frenzy begin
When the clock struck midnight on Canada Day, free agency officially tipped off.
LeBron James headlined Day One when his agency, Klutch Sports Group, announced King James had agreed to a four-year deal with the Lakers, while the Warriors continued to change the landscape of the NBA by signing DeMarcus Cousins.
Some players with Canadian ties hit - and quickly left - the market, too, including:
- Nik Stauskas - reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Trail Blazers;
- Vince Carter - contract is expiring with the Sacramento Kings;
- Fred VanVleet - reportedly re-signed on a two-year contract with the Raptors.
Team Canada hits the road. . . at home
The Canadian men's national team took a tour of the country, playing games in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver in late June and early July.
On June 22 and 24, Canada went 2-0 at the Pacific Rim Basketball Classic, sweeping China in a doubleheader meant to serve as a tuneup for the team before resuming their quest to qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Canada moved on to wrap up the first round of qualifiers by going 2-0 on Canada Day weekend and 5-1 for the round - good enough to top Group D and give the Canadian crew a shot at qualifying for the big stage for the first time since 2010.
A true team effort propelled the Canadians to a 97-61 triumph over the Dominican Republic at Toronto's Ricoh Coliseum. Four Canadians finished the game in double digits - R.J Barrett, Melvin Ejim, Dillon Brooks and Kelly Olynyk all netted 14 points.
Moving on to Ottawa, Team Canada got significant contributions from several players when it defeated the U.S. Virgin Islands 99-69 to secure first place in their group. Five players finished with a double-double in the victory - Cory Joseph, Olynyk, Phil Scrubb, Brooks and Barrett.
The highlight of the four games was a nifty behind-the-back pass from teen phenom Barrett to Olynyk for a huge transition dunk.
Do you think @KellyOlynyk said sorry afterwards? 🔥🏀#HardWoodHomecoming #ThisIsMyHouse #FIBAWC pic.twitter.com/dQvntT6LVY- DAZN_CA (@DAZN_CA) July 2, 2018
With the wins, Canada has qualified for the next round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas qualifiers which will resume in September.