For the second year in a row, the first player picked in the NBA Draft is from Canada. Yesterday, the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Andrew Wiggins first overall in the 2014 NBA Draft. Just one year ago, the Cavaliers selected Anthony Bennett from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with the first selection in the draft.
Maybe the success which Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has had with international players is starting to catch the attention of the league. Or, young Canadian athletes are finally dreaming about playing a professional sport other than hockey.
Regardless, Canada had quite the presence in the first round of this year’s draft. Along with Wiggins, the Sacramento Kings selected Nick Stauskas from Michigan with the ninth pick, and the Phoenix Suns made Tyler Ennis from Syracuse a Top-20 selection. Wiggins, Stauskas, and Ennis all hail from Ontario, the province in which Toronto is located.
These young players probably grew up watching the surreal leaping ability of Vince Carter when he played for the Toronto Raptors. If Vince Carter was not enough, all Canadians can be proud to claim future Hall of Famer Steve Nash as one of their own.
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In the history of the league, aside from the United States, Canada has had the most players enter the NBA from one country. Including the three drafted yesterday in the first round, there have been 29 Canadians in the league thus far.
What does this mean for the NBA’s future with Canada? Most likely, a continuous stream of players will flow from Canada to the United States to play in the NBA. However, it is hard to imagine Canada coming up with a national team that truly threatens the United States.
Wiggins will be asked to step onto the floor for the Cavaliers and instantly impact the team’s success. And at this rate, he may not be the last Canadian player asked to take on the challenge for another NBA franchise.