3 Canadian players the Toronto Raptors could go after this summer

The Raptors already have a standout Canadian in RJ Barrett, but adding one of these three names would bolster the Canadian pride on their roster.
Boston Celtics v Toronto Raptors
Boston Celtics v Toronto Raptors / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
3 of 4

No. 2: Nickeil Alexander-Walker

The Raptors require some desperate help in their rebuild. Some help on the three-point shooting end would be nice. Maybe some gritty defenders. Serviceable guard depth is another keynote of weakness. Enter Nickeil Alexander-Walker of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Cousin of recent MVP candidate and fellow Canadian standout Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Nickeil is not the superstar his relative is, but he's carved out a very integral role with his playoff Wolves squad.

Drafted with the 17th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Alexander-Walker spent his first three seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans, never truly breaking out in his time in the Bayou. He was then included in a Portland-New Orleans deal that essentially swapped Josh Hart for CJ McCollum, however, Alexander-Walker was redirected to the Utah Jazz where he also had a mediocre stint. It wasn't until NAW found a new home in Minnesota that his talents began to be noticed, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker
2019 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot / Elsa/GettyImages

In Minnesota's first-round matchup with the Phoenix Suns, the Wolves had NAW guarding Devin Booker and put the four-time All-Star in the dog house. Putting these two guys side by side, any casual NBA fan would be quick to assume Booker could run circles around the ex-Virginia Tech Hokie. But NAW stepped into his assigned role in stride and used his quick-thinking defensive abilities to disrupt Booker and the Suns. Ultimately, the Minnesota Timberwolves cruised to a 4-0 series sweep over the Phoenix Suns, and NAW was a huge factor in their decisive victory. It wasn't just in the Suns series either, as NAW continued to be a defensive pest in the Nuggets series, giving Jamal Murray a headache matchup.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker is extremely valuable to the Minnesota Timberwolves, but given his impressive breakout and pending free agency in 2025, it could be the right time to strike a deal for the Raptors. Of course, it isn't ideal as his improvements and recognition across the league will see his asking price spike a bit, but some salary filler (Jalen McDaniels would fit perfectly, go reunite him with his bro) and draft capital that isn't too crazy could do the trick. Then again, the Wolves could just opt to keep him and let him walk in free agency, The team has a lot of money on the books with Ant, KAT, Gobert, McDaniels, and Naz Reid, so at least getting something of value back for NAW is a positive for Minnesota.