NBA: Top Canadian Players of the Week
By Ryan Nelson
Another week, another slate of games as the NBA keeps on trucking. While there are only a dozen Canadians playing in the NBA, they can make a large impact for their teams. These five had the biggest impact in the last week.
1. CLE C Tristan Thompson
Stats: 30.25 MPG, 9.25 PPG, 8.75 RPG, 5 blocks and 2 steals in 4 games.
As always, Lebron James’ rebounding teammate comes in near the top of the list. However, the Toronto native gets the top spot this week after posting a pair of double doubles against Dallas and in Philadelphia.
2. DEN SG Jamal Murray
Stats: 30.33 MPG, 17.33 PPG, 5 RPG, 3 assists and 2 steals in 3 games.
The guard from Kitchener is making a surprise appearance in the second spot thanks to a pair of 20+ point games. Murray closed out last week with 24 points in 22 minutes off the bench, and has seen an increase in offensive looks as a result, although he has also benefited from the absence of Will Barton. If he doesn’t improve his efficiency, those minutes will disappear on Barton’s return. Murray is now living up to his Rookie Of The Year expectations.
NOTE: ***December 1st Murray was named NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in October and November.
3. MIN SF Andrew Wiggins
Stats: 36.25 MPG, 17.75 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 2 APG in 4 games.
The Toronto-born superstar in the making has slumped in the last week, only scoring over 20 points once despite seeing 30+ minutes in all four games. He’s a major player in the Minnesota offense, and should start scoring again soon, but he belongs in this slot for now.
4. UTA PF Trey Lyles
Stats: 21.75 MPG, 11 PPG, 5.25 RPG
Lyles is largely on this list because of a 13/10 double-double he posted on Friday against Atlanta. The Saskatoon native will continue to see minutes as long as Derrick Favors is out, and some sites even speculate that Lyles will continue to see heavy usage even after that.
5. PHI SG Nik Stauskas
Stats: 30.25 MPG, 11.25 PPG, 3.75 RPG, 3.25 APG, 3 blocks in 4 games.
Stauskas comes from Mississauga, Ontario, a town that makes Mississippi look easy to spell. He hasn’t been putting up star numbers, but he has consistently scored in double digits coming off the bench. However, he went 3-12 from the floor in his 43 minutes on Nov. 23, effectively ending his chances at moving into the starting lineup.
There were several other Canadians that almost made the cut, most notably BOS C Kelly Olynyk and DAL PF Dwight Powell, but none performed strongly enough to take the final spot on this list. We’ll just have to see what next week brings from the Canadians.
Written by Ryan Nelson (observations from New York)
Edited by Drew Ebanks