The entire country of Canada was on Cloud Nine when their beloved Toronto Raptors won their first NBA championship this past season. However, the Raptors’ success did not spill over into the 2019 FIBA World Cup as Team Canada had a very underwhelming run in the tournament.
Canada did not field in its best potential roster, as nearly every Canadian NBA player passed on the opportunity to suit up for their flag this summer. In fact, only two NBA players committed to the team: Cory Joseph and Khem Birch.
National team and Raptors head coach Nick Nurse is calling on the rest of the Canadian aspirants to, not just give a one-summer nod, but commit to the team long-term in order for their country to rise to basketball prominence on the world stage:
“I think the biggest thing is I think we need an introduction, some of the guys need an introduction to the national team, right?” Nurse said per SportsNet.ca. “I think the guys who are here right now have all played a little bit, continue to grow as they stay together. But some of the guys, I guess they need to find out why or why not they’re going to play or commit to playing. If they’re gonna play, it needs to be a five or six-year stretch.
“Because I think you could do something special with a group of guys who stick together for five or six years.”
Canada has already bowed out of the tournament after going 1-3 in their group. They defeated Senegal in their final game of the first round, their first FIBA World Cup win in 17 years.
It’s unfortunate that they didn’t get past the first round. Potentially, Canada boasts a loaded squad. They currently have the most number of players in the NBA outside the US. These include the likes of Jamal Murray, Andrew Wiggins, RJ Barrett, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Tristan Thompson to name a few.
As seen with those names, Canada can certainly establish itself as a world powerhouse for years to come. However, as Nurse said, that should start with their long-term commitment.