Cleveland Cavaleirs Make History: First Team To Draft Canadian With the First Overall Pick

Anthony Bennett, with NBA commissioner David Stern

Anthony Bennett, with NBA commissioner David Stern

The selection of Anthony Bennett was a surprise to many.  Nerlens Noel was expected by many to go first overall considering his talent level.  With injuries that have derailed the careers of other big men such as Greg Oden and Andrew Bynum, it seems no less than five teams were concerned that selecting Noel would end is disappointment given his recent medical woes.  Most expected that Alex Len would be the next logical choice, but the Cleveland Cavaliers surprised almost everybody and made NBA history by being the first team to draft a Canadian with the first overall pick in the NBA draft.

 

Andrew Wiggins, also a naive of Canada, is expected to go first in the 2014 draft.

Andrew Wiggins, also a naive of Canada, is expected to go first in the 2014 draft.

Bennett, a native of Brampton Ontario, proved that he could play at a high level, posting numbers that suggest he could be a 20/10 power forward, which is appealing considering that this past season was the first time in decades that not a single NBA player averaged more than 20 points and more than 10 rebounds a game.  Such big men are becoming rare in the NBA.  As a Canadian, Bennett is helping to develop Canada’s basketball history which is not nearly as rich as one might think it ought to be considering that the game was invented by a Canadian and that the first game in NBA history was actually played on Canadian soil.  Things look up for Canadian basketball though.  Canadian Steve Nash, though near retirement, has recorded to MVP awards, while Canadian Jamaal Mcgloire made the All-Star team several years ago.

 

Steve Nash became the first Canadian to win the MVP award.  Will Bennett be the next?

Steve Nash became the first Canadian to win the MVP award. Will Bennett be the next?

Though Bennett made history, most expected that a Canadian would be picked first overall soon regardless of what happened in this year’s NBA draft.  Andre Wiggins, the top college prospect this past season, is expected to exit college after one year and most suggest that he is going to be selected first overall as well.  If this happens, it will mean that Canadians took the number-one spot in consecutive years after failing to ever secure the spot in the history of the NBA.  Having two players as talented as Bennett and Wiggins could mean that the Canada’s national basketball team may be making a splash at the 2016 Olympics.

 

Tristan Thompson will no longer be the lone Canadian on the Cavaliers.

Tristan Thompson will no longer be the lone Canadian on the Cavaliers.

Likely joining Bennett and Wiggins on team Canada will be Bennett’s new teammate and fellow Brampton native Tristan Thompson, who became the Canadian with the highest selection in the NBA draft in 2011 when the Cavs selected him with the 4th overall pick.  Apparently Cleveland likes Canadians.  Perhaps the Cavs will change their name to The Canadians.  The Boston Celtics also picked up a Canadian in this year’s draft: center Kelly Olynyk.  As a Canadian, and a fan of basketball, I can only hope that all four of these guys will end up playing for the Raptors (who I hope will have changed their name by that point).  Maybe Steve Nash can coach them if he isn’t still playing.

Kelly Olynyk
Kelly Olynyk
Kelly OlynykAs a Canadian, and a fan of basketball, I can only hope that all three of these guys will end up playing for the Raptors (who I hope will have changed their name by that point).  Maybe Steve Nash can coach them if he isn’t still playing.

 

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