Tag: Andrew Nicholson

Men's basketball, Semi final round action,

Anthony Bennett has looked good playing for Canada. Will that carry over to NBA?


Canada opens its FIBA Americas play today (Tuesday) taking on Argentina, in what should be one of the more attractive Group B matches in the tournament. It’s a game of contrasts. Argentina is the old guard, they have had international success — gold at the 2004 Olympics — but their golden generation has aged out (Manu Ginobili isn’t playing for them, for example). Canada is the young team on the rise, a squad loaded with young NBA talent — Andrew Wiggins, Andrew Nicholson, Cory Joseph, Nik Stauskas, Kelly Olynyk, Dwight Powell, and…

Anthony Bennett.

The former No. 1 pick, a guy panned as a bust, has looked good for Canada in warmups for the tournament. He was a starter and key part of Canada winning the FIBA Americas’ tuneup event, the Tuto Marchand Continental Cup. Against Brazil, he scored 11 straight points and finished with 16 points in 15 minutes in that tournament.

He was asked about what is different after that win, as reported by Josh Lewenberg at TSN.

“[I’m] just playing with confidence, pretty much,” the 22-year-old forward responded. “Just going out there, playing defense, running the court. Just doing the little things first and trying to make offense come to me.”

“Anthony has been exemplary this summer,” said (Canada GM Steve) Nash, the two-time NBA MVP and future hall of fame point guard. “He’s had a tough first two years in the league but his attitude’s been amazing. His talent has never been in question but his attitude, willingness to learn and attention to detail… not that his attitude was ever an issue, but for him to come, to play in the Pan Am Games, to partake in a whole summer with us, it shows he has a real willingness to learn and get better and a want to be a great player.”

Bennett is also healthy, which has not happened a lot through his first two years in the NBA, and those injuries impacted his conditioning.

The question is, can Bennett bring this same level of play to Minnesota next season?

Bennett has had moments where he’s looked improved before — 2014 Summer League, for example — but it hasn’t translated once the NBA tipped off. Bennett was better last season in Minnesota than he was as a rookie, but he still needs to make strides to become a regular rotation player an improving Timberwolves team can count on.

That’s the ceiling for Bennett, it seem — solid rotation player. That’s nowhere near what is expected out of a No. 1 pick, but that anchor around him is more about Cleveland’s misread than it is Bennett’s game (notice the Cavs changed GMs). Bennett is what he is.

Canadian coach Jay Triano told Bennett to simplify the game — find a thing or two you’re good at and focus on doing those things exceptionally well. Crash the boards, run the floor. Everything else will fall into place.

If it falls into place for the Timberwolves, it will be one more piece in their puzzle.

Canada cuts Olivier Hanlan, finalizes roster FIBA Americas with nine NBA players

Andrew Wiggins, Cory Joseph

The Jazz drafted Olivier Hanlan No. 42, but they didn’t have a roster spot for him this season. So, the former Boston College guard signed in Lithuania.

Team Canada apparently didn’t have room for him, either.

Canada announced its roster for FIBA Americas, and Hanlan was the final cut.

It’s remarkable that Canada can afford to drop a player drafted to the NBA, but the country’s basketball team has come a long way in a short time. The Canadians will have nine NBA players:

  • Andrew Wiggins
  • Cory Joseph
  • Kelly Olynyk
  • Anthony Bennett
  • Nik Stauskas
  • Robert Sacre
  • Andrew Nicholson
  • Dwight Powell
  • Melvin Ejim

Aaron Doornekamp, Phil Scrubb and Brady Heslip round out the 12-man roster.

The top two teams in FIBA Americas – besides Brazil, which got an automatic bid as host nation – will qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics. The next three teams, again excluding Brazil, advance to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Canada is definitely a threat this year and next. With such a young team, its future might be even brighter.

Maybe with a little seasoning, Hanlan will eventually make the squad.

Then again, he’ll also have to fend off the next generation of Canadian basketballers, players like Trey Lyles and Jamal Murray.

A few years ago, it would have seemed incomprehensible Canada could afford to cut a player drafted by an NBA team.

Soon, Canada might form its roster completely from NBA players.

Canada beats USA at Pan Am games; Kentucky-bound Jamal Murray looks good

Men's basketball, Semi final round action,

First things first: Canada beat the USA in basketball at the Pan American games, 111-108 in overtime. This is not a big deal, both nations sent second or third tier squads to this event for some experience. The Canadians sent some NBA players — Andrew Nicholson (31 points against the USA) and Anthony Bennett (18). The USA’s best player has been Bobby Brown, who has spent a little time in the NBA but played last year in China.

Canada is closing the gap with the USA on the court, they sent the better team to this tournament, but they are still well back when both teams bring their A-listers.

The guy who has turned heads at the Pan Am Games for Canada is Kentucky bound Jamal Murray, who had 22 against the Americans. You can see his highlights above. Right now Draft Express has him as a bubble lottery pick, but don’t be shocked if he climbs that ladder higher by the time we get to the draft itself. Murray and Skal Labissiere will make the Wildcats title contenders once again (Rob Dauster at CollegeBasketballTalk has them No. 3 in his way-too-early poll for next season).

Raptors’ GM Masai Ujiri wants to get Canadian players on Toronto roster

Masai Ujiri

There are a number of young Canadian players in the NBA — Andrew Wiggin, Anthony Bennett, Kelly Olynyk, Andrew Nicholson, Nik Stauskas, Tyler Ennis, and the list goes on — but none of them are on the roster of the NBA’s one Canadian team.

Raptors GM Masai Ujiri wants to change that.

As part of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport’s Canadian Basketball Speakers forum, Ujiri said that he would love to get a young Canadian on his team’s roster, although he was careful to avoid naming names as that would be tampering, reports Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.

“We are an NBA team, it’s important we look for talent everywhere, but it is on our minds to get a Canadian player or Canadian players,” Ujiri said at Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre, after he had delivered his address…

“We are studying it. I even considered last year hiring somebody to concentrate just on Canadian players and I think I’m going to go through with it because the growth of the game here is so big,” he said.

“It’s the fit. We can maybe take our time and study it a little bit so it is the right fit and not do it just to do it. It’s going to come, there is no doubt in my mind. It’s an obligation that I think we have to fulfil. We are a Canadian team and I think to have Canadian players, I think will be phenomenal.”

Of course, the Canadian they would most want is Wiggins, who is on his way to being named Rookie of the Year and is showing signs of being a potential superstar in the league (his jumper has made leaps this season). However, Wiggins is in the first year of his rookie deal and the Timberwolves are not about to move him. What’s more, even when his rookie contract is up, he’d have to take a pay cut (and take a risk with injuries at the end of that deal) to get out of town — players almost never turn down a max extention to their rookie contracts. If Wiggins is offered one he likely stays another five years after this first deal. Meaning it’s going to be after 2020 before Wiggins might be a Raptor.

But the other names on that list above, and others coming in the pipeline will become available. There are quality guys Ujiri can get.

And it sounds like he may do just that.

Report: Magic working to find a trade for Andrew Nicholson

Tristan Thompson, Andrew Nicholson

The Orlando Magic have a slew of intriguing young players on the roster, and now is the time when they have to sort out which ones are part of their future and which ones aren’t. From the looks of it, third-year power forward Andrew Nicholson could be the odd man out. According to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, the Magic have put Nicholson on the block.

Orlando, thanks to a surplus of young big men, has made Andrew Nicholson available, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN.com on Thursday that the Magic are working with Nicholson’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, to find a new home for the 25-year-old Canadian, who was selected 19th overall by the Magic in the 2012 NBA draft.

Nicholson, the 19th overall pick of the 2012 draft, had a promising rookie season but has fallen largely out of the rotation since then, with most of the minutes in the frontcourt going to Nikola Vucevic and Kyle O’Quinn. He’s only 25 with a lot of unrealized potential and could probably be had for cheap. He could be worth a flyer for a team in the market for a young big.