core or more? Canada Basketball will have tough decisions to make at the Olympics

“There will definitely be some difficult decisions”

Get the latest from Ryan Wolstat delivered straight to your inbox

Article content

For about a decade, it has featured former and current Canadian basketball executives such as Rowan Barrett, Wayne Parrish, Steve Nash, Michele O’Keefe and Glen Grunwald muse Around a time when the program had to say “thanks, but no thanks” to NBA players who wanted to suit up for their country. Coaches Leo Rautins, Jay Triano and Nick Nurse would also say the same.

Advertising 2

Article content

Given the history of the men’s program, it was easy to nod along, but deep down it felt a little pie in the sky.

Article content

After all, for many years Nash was either the only NBA player on the Canadian roster or perhaps had another player of that caliber alongside him.

After hanging up his jersey, Canada overtook France as the NBA’s second-largest talent supplier, yet fielding a roster with most of this class’s top talent seemed an impossible task.

While there were constants like Kelly Olynyk, Cory Joseph and Dwight Powell, you would see Andrew Wiggins or Tristan Thompson for one event but then not for a long time.

It’s always been relatively easy to welcome every NBA player with open arms. But the day is finally here when Canada Basketball President Michael Bartlett, General Manager Barrett, Head Coach Jordi Fernandez and Co. really have to make the tough decisions that have been promised for so long.

Article content

Advertising 3

Article content

Canada’s immense basketball success this summer – winning a bronze medal at the FIBA ​​World Cup and qualifying for the Olympics for the first time since Nash and Barrett were key players on the 2000 squad – means players will be vying for the Canadian team to strengthen Paris.

How many will be added? How many should be added? And which loyal participant from the summer team has to be pushed out?

Those are a lot of questions.

Canada put itself in this position by requiring a three-year commitment from those interested in attending the World Cup and then the Olympics if Canada made it. They either had to play last summer and this summer to be invited next year, or at least attend camp in 2022 and 2023.

Jamal Murray, Canada’s second-best player behind All-World guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, is coming off a great playoff run that culminated in a championship for the Denver Nuggets, a lock assuming he’s healthy and his new contract with him Denver was worked out.

Advertising 4

Article content

This would give Canada the best backcourt in the entire tournament, but a little help at backup point guard would also be useful. Options include veterans Joseph and Kevin Pangos, who have competed many times in the past. But what about Indiana Pacers standout Andrew Nembhard, who had 25 points and 10 assists in a loss to the Raptors in Toronto this season?

Despite not meeting the three-year signing criteria, Nembhard played for Canada at the last World Cup and several times in various events as a teenager.

What about players who could be important players in the future, like Nembhard’s teammate Bennedict Mathurin or incoming freshman Leonard Miller – who sat in camp to get a taste – or Shaedon Sharpe or Olivier Maxence-Prosper? It’s probably not her time yet.

Advertising 5

Article content

The team could use some help upfront. Olynyk and Powell will both be 33 next summer and are undersized to begin with. There’s no viable, legitimate 7-foot option, but Memphis big man Brandon Clarke could still be helpful despite coming off a serious injury and not yet playing for Canada.

The Raptors’ Chris Boucher hasn’t played for Canada yet, so probably isn’t an option. Trey Lyles did, but may not be the answer.

We’re sorry, but this video failed to load.

The biggest wild card, of course, is Golden State’s Wiggins, who has made it clear he would like to compete in the Olympics (his mother was an Olympic track star) but has opted not to commit for several years in 2021.

Wiggins is arguably Canada’s best two-way player (he’s not at Gilgeous-Alexander’s level offensively, but he’s a better defender and a solid scorer in his own right) and was a top player for both 2015 and 2021 when they came along Canada shortly before the Olympic Games.

Advertising 6

Article content

CEO Bartlett left the door open an interview on the FAN Morning Show this week. Bartlett said that Joseph, Pangos and Indiana’s Oshae Brissett, who was injured this summer, are “still considered part of the core” (meaning they would likely be strong bets to add if possible), but “Ultimately, coach Jordi and Rowan will have to make some difficult decisions. These decisions are based on our competitive outlook and what we need to look like to be the best at the Olympics,” Bartlett said.

“But certainly the athletes that are in our Core 16 continue to be the ones we focus on. We know there will be more interested parties, and that’s great. Again, this is a program that has been generating interest for a long time, so we won’t let that discourage us.

Advertising 7

Article content

“But at the end of the day, we strongly believe in a reciprocal promise to those who have made a commitment to us. They have made promises to us and we must keep those promises to them. So there will definitely be some difficult decisions.”

Other countries will significantly strengthen their teams. Serbia, which comfortably beat Canada before falling to Germany in the gold medal game, will sign two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic and two other starters.

Embarrassed by Canada and other countries, Team USA could have LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and many other superstars.

France, perhaps the biggest disappointment of the tournament, will be at home and welcome super-talent Victor Wembanyama.

The addition of Murray would obviously be a significant boost for Canada as well, but it will be interesting to see if there are one or two other significant changes as well.

Continue with the core or add more?


Article content


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. For more information and details on adjusting your email settings, see our Community Guidelines.

Join the conversation

Advertising 1 core or more? Canada Basketball will have tough decisions to make at the Olympics

Hung is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button