What if? “We The North” Toronto Raptors team


I was reading this article from NBA Greece about a “different” NBA where the NBA players would play only for their home-grown teams. While reading this article (which sadly is missing significant Canadian talent), I came up with the idea “What if all Canadian-born players would play for the Toronto Raptors?”

Let’s see how good (or…bad) this team could be if all the Canadian talent landed in Toronto:

Before starting I want to say that in my list there will be only active NBA players who were born in GTA mostly, but also within Canada. So, no Steve Nash, Samuel Dalembert or Robert Sacre in our list.

We will select the starting line-up first, and then we will see the depth of the “Canadian” Raptors team.

In PG position we have Tyler Ennis. Tyler wanted to be a Raptor in reality, but the Suns drafted him, and they don’t want to see him leave, although the efforts Raptors did for the opposite, according to reports. This describes how much they believe in the Brampton rookie, who played only for one season in NCAA having the following stats: 12.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.1 steals per game. Experts say that he will be one of the elite PGs in the league. He has the time to prove them right, even if it will be difficult this season, with Dragic, Thomas and Bledsoe on the Phoenix team. Maybe a…trade to Raptors would be good for both teams?

In SG position we have Nick Stauskas. Big Ten Player of the year (2014), Consensus Second Team All American the same year with stats as: 17.5 points per game, with 44.2% field goal percentage beyond the arc last season with the University of Michigan. And he’s not only a sharp 3-pt shooter. According to Mike DeCoury article “More than anyone else, Stauskas redefined his game. As a freshman he primarily was a catch-and-shoot weapon for the Wolverines in their charge to the 2013 NCAA championship game. He became a ballhandler in his second season, attacking defenders with his newly unleashed ability to dribble the ball and penetrate the lane” Sacramento Kings had the opportunity to draft him this season (8th pick), so he took his talent to California.

In SF we have the top pick in the 2014 NBA draft, son of the great Mitchell Wiggins (whom I had the privilege to see playing in Greece), Andrew Wiggins. Probably the most talented Canadian of all time, he has to prove this statement though on the court. After a crazy summer for the team that drafted him (Cleveland Cavaliers), he was traded to Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Kevin Love. All of us who live in Canada, wish that when his rookie contract ends in 4 years, he will be a Raptor.

In PF we find Tristan Thompson. The only Canadian who “survived” the Cavaliers overhaul and departure of Canadian talent from Cleveland, has already proven his talent (12 points and 9 rebounds per game the last two seasons in Cleveland), he may see his numbers decreasing this season with the presence of Kevin Love. We would…Love to have Tristan in our team

As a C, we have Kelly Olynyk. Even if he’s not the he’s not the “typical” center (probably PF), his 7ft height is putting him in this position in our fantastic roster. After being one of the best Gonzaga players in 2012-2013 season, last season he played for the rebuilding Boston Celtics, and proved that he has much talent: 8.7 pts, 5.2 rbs, 35.1 3P% in 20 minutes. He was a member of NBA All-rookie second team last season and has a bright future.

What about the depth of “our team”? Players as Cory Joseph (PG, San Antonio), Anthony Bennett (PF, Minnesota), 7.5 ft Sim Bhullar (C, Sacramento), Andrew Nicholson (PF, Orlando) Dwight Powell (PF, Boston) and the veteran Montreal-born Joel Anthony (C, Boston), the only non-GTA born player, could help the starting lineup.

Interesting team, isn’t it?

What do you believe Raptors fans?