NBA: Top Canadian Players of the Week ending November 18th, 2016

By Ryan Nelson

We may call them “national leagues”, but the truth is, American sports leagues are full of the best players from around the world. There’s more money spent on sports here than elsewhere, making the NBA the best living a basketball player can make.

Our neighbours to the north are no exception- Canadians can be found in the NBA, NFL, MLB, and naturally, the NHL (after all, hockey is their sport).

We thought we’d pick out the best Canadian players of the week. It should be noted that the list is relatively short- only twelve players in the NBA come from Canada– but there were still five who stood out above the rest of their countrymen.

The first two are clearly the two best Canadians in the NBA. Your preference may vary, so they’re in the same category, although the rebounder tops our list if we have to choose.

1 & 2. Andrew Wiggins and Tristan Thompson

The names alone put these two atop the list, but here’s the stats:

Thompson had an off week, averaging only 5.75 points per game in the last week, but had a double-double on Tuesday and has broken ten rebounds in the last three games. LeBron’s young center buddy isn’t going to fade anytime soon, and should naturally bounce back.

Wiggins is the centerpiece of Minnesota’s offense. He tallied 163 points across five games up until Tuesday November 15th, along with 22 rebounds and 17 assists. He’s a superstar in the making.

This is where it starts to get tricky, but one remaining Canadian jumped off the screen more than any other.

3. Celtics C Kelly Olynyk

Last 5 games: 29.6 MPG, 10.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.8 APG.

His stats are relatively quiet, but Olynyk is the starting center for Boston and a presence to remember. He’s capable of blocking the paint or guarding on the perimeter, albeit not as athletic as a Draymond Green. In a two game stretch, he put up 35 points and 13 rebounds, not bad for a big man in a backcourt centered system.

The remaining players are all bench players, but the next choice has been forced to step up.

4. Mavericks PF Dwight Powell

Last 4: 25 MPG, 8.25 PPG, 6.25 RPG, 2.5 SPG

They may not be winning, but Powell has been providing some defense and rebounding off the bench. In the loss to the Celtics on November 16th he also spent a lot of time functioning at the center spot with Andrew Bogut in foul trouble. His minutes should drop when Nowitzki returns, but until then Powell is the sixth man in Dallas. Ironically, Nowitzki is one of the first international players to have overwhelming success in the league, as he has set the bar for the next generation of European players.

5. Jazz PF Trey Lyles

Lyles had a big game on Monday November 14th, getting more minutes than planned due to Derrick Favors’ injury. In his unexpected 32 minutes, Lyles stepped up and put forth an 18/5/2/2 line. Until Favors comes back Lyles looks to be a starter for now, or at least a sixth man again.

Written by Ryan Nelson (observations from New York)

Edited by Drew Ebanks