While the Toronto Raptors proved emphatically that even after the Grizzlies failed in Vancouver, a Canadian NBA team can still be run well, win consistently, and develop a passionate fanbase that unites the entire country. The success of the Raptors has helped inspire a whole new generation of Canadian-born ballers ready to make their mark on the basketball landscape.
Despite all of that, Toronto hasn’t always been the best with regards to adding native Canadiens to the roster. There have been some exceptions, however, especially considering how well Chris Boucher has played this season, but he has proven to be an exception. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Raptors became the central hub for all things Canadian basketball?
Rather than waiting on top high school prospect Elijah Fisher to end up in their laps, the Raptors might be able to make some moves either before this year’s trade deadline or during the offseason, as these three established veterans might end up playing back in their home country in 2021-22 and joining their fellow countryman in Boucher.
These three Canadian players could help the Toronto Raptors in the short and long term
Toronto Raptors Canadian Target No. 1: Dwight Powell
Dwight Powell can be an intriguing presence on offense for the Raptors
Like many Dallas Mavericks players not named Luka Doncic this season, Powell is struggling to put the ball in the basket, averaging just 4.6 points per game while shooting 47 percent from the field. This is a very sharp change from the last few seasons, as Powell has averaged 9.5 points and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 60 percent from the floor.
A Toronto native, Powell, who is finding himself frozen out of an offense that is revolving more around Luka Doncic with each passing day, could be intrigued by the possibility of returning home.
Considering how the lack of an interior presence at either end of the floor has really hurt the Raptors this season, getting a 6-10 brick house that has a soft touch around the rim and can play solid defense should be considered.
Powell’s past three seasons are likely more indicative of the type of player he is than his slow start to the season. If his value starts to ebb away due to a poor 2020-21 season, Toronto might be able to snatch him up for cheap, forming a very talented frontcourt with Powell, Boucher, and Pascal Siakam.