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:
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.
Jamal Crawford, other NBA stars take court for Seattle Pro AM vs. Drew League (VIDEO)
This would have been fun to attend, a little showdown between the Seattle Pro AM and the Los Angeles-based Drew League.
It attracted plenty of NBA talent: Jamal Crawford, Zach LaVine, Isaiah Thomas, Stanley Johnson, Trevor Ariza, Baron Davis, Nate Robinson, Malcolm Thomas, Dorell Wright, Bobby Brown and Spencer Hawes were among the ballers. And when you turn those guys loose in a world with no defense, you get a show.
Enjoy, we’re still a couple of months away from NBA games that matter so this can be a little fix.
Zach LaVine throws down alley-oop windmill dunk in Seattle pro-am game (VIDEO)
During his rookie season with the Timberwolves, Zach LaVine became known around the NBA as one of the league’s most electric dunkers. He showed out in the annual pro-am game in his hometown of Seattle, throwing down this windmill alley-oop:
Besides Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, LaVine’s dunks are undoubtedly one of the reasons the Wolves should be major League Pass favorites this season.
Andrew Wiggins throws it down and J.J. Barea ends up in poster (VIDEO)
Canada and Puerto Rico met in the finals of the Tuto Marchand Continental Cup, which is essentially a tune-up for FIBA Americas, which starts next week (that event is a 2016 Rio Olympics qualifier).
What we learned in this game is that if Canada’s Andrew Wiggins wants to dunk, Puerto Rico’s J.J. Barea will not be able to stop him. Not even close.
Wiggins finished with 20 points and Canada won 78-72, picking up its first Continental Cup. There is a lot of hype in Canada that for the first time since 2000 their national team could make the Olympics — the top two finishers at FIBA Americas in Canada get their cards punched for Rio. Canada (with eight NBA players) looks like a team that could make it. Especially if Wiggins keeps doing that.
Celtics’ Kelly Olynyk doing well, will play for Canada in FIBA Americas
There are high hopes for the Canadian national team at FIBA Americas, which is a qualifying event for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Canada has qualified for just one of the last six Olympics (they finished seventh in 2000), but with an improved roster that includes Andrew Wiggins, Nik Stauskas, and six other NBA players, they are a team on the rise. And hope north of the border is rising with them.
FIBA Americas starts Aug. 31; Canada opens the next day against Argentina (which is without Manu Ginobili).
This is good news for the Celtics and Olynyk as well.
Boston is loaded at the four — Jared Sullinger, David Lee, Jordan Mickey, Jonas Jerebko, Amir Johnson and Jae Crowder — all can get some run at that slot. Any setback for Olynyk is not good, but this seems to be a minor one.