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Oklahoma City Thunder

NBA League Pass Game of the Night: Has Shai Gilgeous-Alexander taken the crown of best Canadian in the NBA from Andrew Wiggins?

"Who is the best Canadian player in the NBA?"

For a long time, the answer was easy: Andrew Wiggins.

Nowadays, the answer is not so simple with a growing pool of candidates that introduces several additional layers of complexity and nuance. We are, after all, entering a golden age of Canadian basketball with a healthy crop of up-and-coming stars.

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On Monday night, Wiggins will take on one of those who has emerged as a threat or even - depending on whom you ask - already taken the crown.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

On the heels of a solid rookie season where he showed signs of becoming a mainstay in the NBA, SGA is now doing far more than showing the occasional flashbulb moment and is squarely in the midst of delivering a breakout year with averages 19.9 points and 5.3 rebounds on 46.4% shooting from the field.

Just as important, Gilgeous-Alexander has taken a step forward defensively as well. After spending his rookie season learning from one of the NBA's most tenacious defenders in Patrick Beverley, he's now learning from one of the league's most intelligent defenders Chris Paul. The results of learning from the two coupled with his natural length and athletism has allowed SGA to post a defensive rating of 109 which is better than his output as a rookie.

MORE: SGA and CP3 are a match made in backcourt heaven

Wiggins, on the other hand, is enjoying a comeback season of sorts. After several substandard years largely defined by stagnation and stunted development, Wiggins is back to getting buckets, pouring in 23.6 points per game to go along with career high in rebounds, assists, blocks and made 3s.

Head coach Ryan Saunders has put the ball in the Canadian's hands more and he's delivered. Earlier this season, Wiggins ripped off five consecutive games with at least 25 points and five assists, something he had never done in back-to-back games over the first five years of his career.

Wiggins has embraced the challenge from Saunders on a near nightly basis resulting in a usage rate on par with the likes of Devin Booker and Damian Lillard.

Earlier this season, SGA told the world he'll be there in June to try and make the Team Canada roster when they attempt to get one of the last four remaining spots for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Wiggins has yet to let his intentions be known, but with all the talent Canada now has to offer, there's a small minority who believe that the National Team doesn't necessarily need the Vaughan Ontario native.

For those of you out there who believe that, consider this..

As great and as dynamic as SGA and Jamal Murray are, Andrew Wiggins is still the best closer Canada has to offer. This season Wiggins is averaging 3.5 points per game on 50.0% shooting from the field in the clutch which is good enough for the top ten in the NBA. No other Canadian ranks in the top 30 in clutch scoring on a per-game basis.

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This year's Men's Olympic Qualifying tournament roster may go down as the most talented in history.

On Monday night, fans have the opportunity to watch two Canadians go head to head on the court for their respective teams.

The Raptors are off on Monday. There's no NFL and only one meaningful Canadian team playing in the NHL. Sorry, Montreal Canadiens fans the Habs aren't making the playoffs this year.

SGA vs. Wiggins is must-see T.V. So fire up your NBA League Pass, you won't regret it.

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

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