Beyond the Toronto Raptors: Who are Canada’s best players?

Toronto Raptors: RJ Barrett #9 of the New York Knicks (Photos by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors: RJ Barrett #9 of the New York Knicks (Photos by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Chris Boucher (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /

Tier D: The fringe NBA players

While brimming with potential, these Canadians may either find themselves as either a star in the G-League, a bench warmer in the NBA, or a superstar playing overseas. It depends on how well they can continue to develop – or how lucky they get.

Chris Boucher

The only non-rookie on this list, Boucher is the prototypical “too good for the G-League, not good enough for the NBA” type of player. He tore it up with the Raptors 905 last season winning both the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year. His prize? Keeping the Raptors’ bench warm. At least he got a chip along the way.

Naz Mitrou-Long

Going undrafted in 2017, Mitrou-Long has bounced between the G-league and the NBA, playing as many as 14 games for the Utah Jazz. At only 6’3″, he’ll continue to struggle to find a niche in his position in the NBA although he can continue filling up the stat sheet while in the G-League.

Oshae Brissett*

Brissett could be a new favourite in the G-League with his highlight-reel dunks and explosive athleticism. However, that might be as far as he gets as his lack of a jump shot and limited basketball savvy will make him hard to trust in the big leagues. He’ll at least be a staple in the G-League All-Star festivities.

Marial Shayok*

As the 54th pick of the draft, Shayok fits well with the Sixers with his size (6’6″ with 7′ wingspan) and defensive instincts. But he doesn’t have NBA-level athleticism and doesn’t excel in many other areas. He is a longshot to see any significant time in the NBA.

Luguentz Dort*

Undrafted this year, Dort may have the most promise in this tier. He doesn’t have much finesse in his game and his offense is a serious work-in-progress. But his size, physicality, and sharp defensive instincts will make him an invaluable asset. Keep an eye out for him.

Ignas Brazdeikis*

In contrast to Dort, Brazdeikis is an aggressive scorer who is a bit short on physical gifts. What he lacks in athleticism, he makes up for with wit and grit. Although with how crowded the forward rotation is in New York, Brazdeikis will have to toil in the G-League for a bit.