By Max Feldman

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Kentucky Wildcats from Hamilton, ON. Photo by: Arden Barnes

In today’s NBA, there are 13 players who are of Canadian descent currently on rosters, with the latest call up (from G-League) being Naz Mitrou-Long of the Utah Jazz.

Others like Xavier Rathan-Mayes (NY Knicks G-League) are making moves, and knocking on the door.

8 of the 13 players were selected in the first round of their given NBA draft. Andrew Wiggins is the only active Canadian player who was selected first overall–the other is Anthony Bennett, currently in the G-League with the Maine Redclaws. has no Canadians listed in their 2018 NBA mock draft, which you can expect to change.

The top Canadian candidate is looking like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who just put on a show for Kentucky, in a blowout victory over rival Lousiville.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Justin Jackson would be the next guys up. Jackson contemplated signing with an agent following a strong Freshman campaign.

Following a mock draft with a void of Canadian talent according to this publication has a total of 7 players of Canadian descent being picked in the draft. Five players are pegged in the first round. Three of which are projected as lottery picks, or top 14 picks.

RJ Barrett is projected as the first overall pick in the 2019 draft, which would make him the third Canadian player to be picked first, in the last six years-a massive statement to the basketball world

Barrett will be one-and-done, following a season at Duke.

Following Barrett, lists Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as the 7th overall selection (as mentioned, NPH expects this projection to change as season progresses).

The 6-6 point guard, from Hamilton, Ontario, would be entering the draft following his sophomore season at Kentucky. At the 12th pick, Shai’s cousin, Nickeil Alexander-Walker is the next Canadian to be selected. The lead guard from Toronto would be entering the draft following his sophomore season at Virginia Tech. Both are seen as high potential prospects with good intangibles and a growing skillset, with NBA ready bodies.

The next Canadian prospect listed is Simi Shittu, at the 16th overall selection. The 6-9 forward out Burlington, Ontario is headed to Vanderbilt next season. Shittu would be entering the draft following his freshman season. As a strong, physically mature big man, Shittu could be selected as a long term player with a developing feel for the game.

The final Canadian listed in the first round of the draft is Iowa State guard, Lindell Wigginton, pegged as the 23rd overall pick, but has been having a stellar freshman year.

Projected as two-and-done prospect, Wigginton would be the first NBA player from Nova Scotia, since Will Njoku, and second overall. With an impressive long range shooting prowess, and underrated athleticism the 6-3 might remind spectators of fellow Canadian, Jamal Murray. lists two more Canadians in the second round of the draft. Syracuse forward, O’shae Brissett is listed as the 48th overall selection. The 6-8 stretch four is a native of Mississauga, Ontario would be departing Cuse following his sophomore campaign. However, the way Brissett has been playing, there is a question he is a stock riser.

Rounding out the wave is 6-7 forward Justin Jackson from University of Maryland. The East York, Ontario native is pegged as the 52nd pick.

As it is only a mock draft, these projections mark the possibility of a historic draft for Canadian basketball.

With 13 Canadian born players in the NBA currently, 2019 marks the upcoming influx of Canadians to the highest level of professional basketball.

The future is bright for Canadian basketball, as the next wave will be rolling in soon.

Editorial Staff

Written by Editorial Staff

NPH- Leaders In Canadian Basketball, providing coast-coast media coverage on ALL levels of Canadian Basketball: HS, NCAA, CIS, CCAA, National program + more! Voice your opinion:


7 thoughts on “2019 NBA Predictions – Canada’s Next Wave Expected to Make it Three #1 Picks in 6 Years

  1. Can-ball guru says:

    Nice article, agree with your assesments although I think Dort will be a top 40 pick in 2019 along with possible Akotvin 2019 despite his slow start with Arizona. I also Iggy B. might shock people in Michigan next year and potentially hit the moch drafts.

    Finally I would be shocked to see Simi Shittu fall outside ths lottery as he has top 8 written all over him. There are also a few other high potential prospects like Andrew Nembhardt and Jaelin Llewellyn.l plusba few more.

    I would guess that by the middle of the 2020 NBA season there will be 18 to 22 Canadian players in the NBA..


    1. WS says:

      Can-Ball Guru – 18-22 is pretty aggressive as guys fall out of the NBA as well. Nicholson, Bennett, Sacre all gone in the last couple years. Tyler Ennis has a very high chance on being out of the NBA next year as does Nik Stauskas. Not that they are not all world class players, but the NBA is the best of the best and it is a very cut throat world at this level.
      My guess is 50% of the prospects listed above (including the ones you mention) will not touch the NBA. The only sure thing right now is RJ Barrett and now likely Shai Alexander. Simi would be in there but his blown out knee changes everything…

      We may see a surprises every year (like Brissett this year) but guys like Iggy, Dort, Nembhard, Llewellyn and even Jackson seem to have the odds stacked against them. Admittedly it is too early to tell on most 18-20 year olds….and I am with you that we should have more than our current 12 NBA players. 18-22 would be awesome though!

    2. Can-ball guru says:

      No, you are incorrect…this year alone 3 canadian prospects have either just made the NBA or are litterally the next call-ups.

      Naz Long, Chris Boucher, Xavier Rathon Mayrs are now in and Kem Birch is now becoming a steady player for Orlando. I am an accountant, you have to look at it from a pure numbers perspective because some players like Melvin Ejym, Brady Heslep, Kyle Wiltzer, Oliver Hanlen..etc are close and still may make it.

      I have followed and eveluated NBA prospects since 2002 and we arw now seeing less of a success rate for simply being ranked as a top 10 prospect by a US scouting service. The game is global now and you can’t simply rely on US scouting as the Holy Doctrine.

      The sheer volume of emerging young prospects and huge spike in the numbers of kids playing is inprecidenented plus now there are many great playrrs chosing to stay and play thier highschool ball in Canada and most ranking scputs don’t include Canadian prospects and the 1 or 2 that do severely under-rate them.

      You say exept for the odd surprise like Oshae Brissett but when follow basketball as I have it is zero surprise at all. I knew he was a potential lottery player since age 15.

      The fact that top prospects from all over the world are now moving to Toronto to play ball here at a young age only further adds to the potential Canadian pipeline as many go on to represent Canada.

      I should have said “could be on NBA rosters” as many will only have 2 to 3 year NBA careersn.

      1. Connoisseur says:

        Your spelling is truly “inprecidenented”. If you are an accountant, then Mark Bairos is the greatest scout in Canadian history.

  2. J-Dawg says:

    Another potential NBA prospect is Brandon Clarke from Gonzaga. He’s listed as being from Phoenix but was actually born in Vancouver. He’s currently sitting out this season due to transfer rules. Last year at San Jose St he put up some impressive numbers. 17.5ppg, 8.9rpg, 2.3apg, 2.6bpg, 1.1spg, .589fg%

  3. WS says:

    J-Dawg – good pick up. It seems you and I might be the only ones that realize Brandon Clarke is Canadian. He was raised in PHX, so not many know his Vancouver blood. All Mountain West 1st Team and All Defensive team as a sophomore. and now he spends a year in the famed Gonzaga “Olynyk Clinic” working on his game and body. I think he will surprise allot of people next year.

  4. NBA says:

    You guys had Oshae Brissett going 48th & he is now projected at 7th

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