This past week has been a pretty big one for players and teams north of the border, here’s a quick “Breakdown” to get you caught up…
NBA Draft – Canadians Selected
Andrew Nicholson – 19th – Orlando Magic
The first Canadian selected, Nicholson comes out of Mississauga and nearly led St Bonaventure to a first-round upset over Florida State in this years’ NCAA tournament. The 6-9 forward is long, versatile, and still has a lot of room to develop his game after only starting to play during his junior year of high school.
Kris Joseph – 51st – Boston Celtics
Top-seeded Syracuse’s leading scorer, and cousin of Cory and Devoe Joseph, Kris fell to the second round where the Celtics were thrilled to have him. The 6-7 small forward from Montreal has an NBA body, terrific athleticism, long arms and is an active defender with a game that should translate to the NBA level while bringing a spark of youth to the Celtics bench.
Robert Sacre – 60th – Los Angeles Lakers
With the final selection in the 2012 NBA draft, the Lakers picked up the seven-footer out of North Vancouver, British Columbia. Now with Nash in tow, the Lakers have a true B.C. connection. Sacre’s quickness on defense allows him to be an effective shot-blocker and he has a variety of post moves on offense.
The Raptors went all-in for Nash, hoping to woo the greatest Canadian to ever play the game to finish his career in his home country. Offering $36 million and the chance to lead a national movement was enticing for Nash, but ultimately he signed with the Lakers and took less money for a chance to win the title he’s been searching for his whole career. He also gets to stay close enough to Phoenix where he can see his kids, and live in Los Angeles where he can continue his movie-making aspirations. Nash will help Kobe drive the team with veteran leadership while playing the understanding “good cop” to Kobe’s whip-cracking “bad cop.” And really, it will be fun to see Nash play at a high level while he still can, after all, he won’t be 38 forever.
While the Raps struck out on Nash even after giving it their best shot, they may be better off developing young talent and obtaining potential break-out stars than investing in the aging two-time MVP. During the signing battle for Nash, the Raptors offered Landry Fields a three-year deal to try to ensure the Knicks didn’t sign-and-trade Fields for Nash. Now we’re seemingly “stuck” with Fields, but he may actually make a great addition to the team. Fields is a great rebounding guard that was a second-round pick before working his way into the rotation for the Knicks.
As soon as Nash was off the table, the Raps moved quickly, piecing together a deal that would bring in Kyle Lowry of the Houston Rockets. Lowry is a triple-threat at point guard where he can score, pass, and rebound and was considered an All-Star candidate by some last season before injuries derailed his season. The acquisition may or may not mean the departure of Jose Calderon; he’s split point guard duties pretty much his whole time in Toronto.
In the draft, the Raptors surprised by picking Terrence Ross eighth overall. The 6-7 wing player is athletic and oozing with potential, while he’s also a capable shooter with range on his shot and a good perimeter defender.
The Raptors also grabbed energetic, 6-8 power forward Quincy Acy 37th overall. The Baylor product will rebound and be a vocal locker room/ bench presence to help motivate the team.
Canadian Women at the Olympics
Playing in Turkey on Canada Day, the Canadian women’s team celebrated by clinching a spot in the upcoming London Olympic Games with a 71-63 victory over Japan. The Canadians were led by 21 points from Ottawa-native Courtney Pilypaitis and will now appear in their first Olympics since 2000.
NBL Revamping for Season Two
After a successful inaugural season, the NBL of Canada is prepared to make the experience even better for both the players and the fans. In last week’s NBL owner’s meeting, they agreed to extend the regular season to a full 40 games (up from 36) beginning on November 1st. Teams will also now be required to have a minimum of three Canadian players. The Quebec KEBS are moving to Laval in an effort to remain in Quebec, while an expansion team in Windsor will become the eighth NBL team. Action tips off August 25th and 26th at the pre-draft combine as the league continues to develop and grow.