3 Canadian prospects Raptors could add in 2022 NBA Draft

March 8, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Andrew Nembhard (3) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
March 8, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Andrew Nembhard (3) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /
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Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors made history in the 2021 NBA Draft, as they drafted the first Canadian-born player in franchise history in Rexdale native Dalano Banton. Will Ujiri make it two years in a row where he burns a second-rounder on a native Canadian?

Names like RJ Barrett and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander starting to show they can be All-Star-level performers adds more fuel to the Canadian basketball fire. Every year, more quality Canadians keep flowing into the NBA. 2022 promises to be no exception.

The top two prospects from Canada in this class are projected to be lottery picks. Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe and Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin are expected to be long-term cornerstones in the NBA. With Leonard Miller choosing the G League over the draft, the talent pool appears to be thinning.

Even with those three big names firmly out of Toronto’s grasp, there are plenty of players that got their start in Canada and could hit the ground running in the pros back in their home country. Banton will be a part of the Raptors’ rotation next year, and these prospects could join him.

3 Canadian prospects the Toronto Raptors could draft

3. Andrew Nembhard, PG, Gonzaga

Nembhard, who transferred to Spokane after a few seasons with Florida, checks many of the boxes Ujiri typically looks for when evaluating prospects. Ujiri has often selected versatile players with multiple seasons of collegiate production, and Nembhard brings both of those things to the table.

Nembhard averaged 11.8 points and 5.8 assists per game with the Bulldogs this year, as the 6-5 point guard started to flex his sharp passing skills and adeptness at finishing close to the basket. On defense, there’s a lot to be excited about. Think of him as a slightly smaller, more refined version of Banton.

Andrew Nembhard could fit with the Toronto Raptors.

The biggest issue with Nembhard right now is a lack of show-stopping athleticism. His ability to defend wings at the professional level might not be as good as it was in college. Toronto will also need to decide if his sudden uptick in efficiency is the result of an encouraging trend or a one-year wonder.

The Aurora native has four years of college experience under his belt, meaning that some teams may be turned away from him due to his slightly lower offensive ceiling. In need of someone who could eat up some backup point guard minutes and defend well, the Raptors may bring Nembhard (who already worked out for them) back to Ontario.