Canadian Basketball History being made in NBA Playoffs

There were 28 Canadians that played in the NBA in the 2023-2024 season. Out of that 28, there are a few that play pivotal roles on their team. Even fewer play pivotal roles on Playoff & Championship contending teams.

What we’ll see in this year’s NBA playoffs has never happened before. MVP front-runner from Hamilton, Ontario. Reigning Champion & all-time playoff performer from Kitchener, Ontario. Best defender on #1 seed from Montreal, Quebec. Team X-Factor on #3 seed from Toronto, Ontario. The storylines that can potentially develop this post-season shouldn’t be taken lightly by Canadian Basketball fans. What happens today will impact the future generation of Canadian Basketball Players. Just like how Steve Nash & Vince Carter inspired the players of today, in 20 years we’ll be talking about Shai Gilgeous-Alexander & Jamal Murray.

SGA’s MVP-worthy Season Leads OKC To #1 Seed

Arguably the best individual season by a Canadian in NBA history from a statistical, impact, and production standpoint. Shai averaged 30-6-5 on 53/35/87 shooting splits + elite defence on the best team in the West while being the only all-star on the team. It would be a shame if he isn’t the MVP this season, joining Steve Nash as the only other Canadian to win the prestigious award.

OKC has the pieces to make a deep playoff run. One of those pieces is Shai’s fellow Canadian teammate Lu Dort.

The Dorture Chamber Is Real

Everyone knows Defence Wins Championships. Not many players can lock up like Lu Dort, specifically on the perimeter. He’ll be tasked with guarding the opposing team’s best player, which he’s been doing for the past few seasons. With team’s playing through their stars more than ever in the playoffs, having someone like Lu who can slow them down or at least make them uncomfortable will heavily impact winning. His team feeds off his intensity and energy. As much as we talk about Shai, we must recognize how important Dort is for this team’s success.

 

Jamal Murray Looks To Win Back-to-back NBA Championships

Continuing to cement himself as an all-time playoff performer, Jamal Murray and the Denver Nuggets have a chance to do what no team has done since the Warriors in 2017 & 2018. Winning another Championship would officially make them a Dynasty. If Jamal continues to elevate his play every post-season and rack up Championships, we’re going to have some interesting conversations on where he ranks among the all-time greats. This Nuggets team is a well-oiled machine that has yet to meet it’s match.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker Playing Pivotal Role On Championship Contender

It’s a new era in Minnesota. The Timberwolves are legitimate Contenders in the NBA playoffs. They’ve got all the pieces from starpower, elite defence, great coaching, depth, and personnel. Nickeil plays the role of the sparkplug for this team. Every game he can be relied on for high level point-of-attack defence, 3pt shooting, and playmaking. His team trusts him because he’s delivered in big moments. He understands his role and plays it to the best of his abilities. We can potentially see a cousin-versus-cousin matchup if NAW’s Timberwolves and SGA’s Thunder make it to the Conference Finals. That’s a storyline in itself.

What This Means For 2024 Paris Olympics

Team Canada will surely benefit from the momentum & confidence gained from this post-season. Imagine a team that’s already led by the best backcourt in the world, but one of them is coming off his second straight NBA Championship. Or one of them is coming off an MVP season & deep playoff run, perhaps even winning a Finals MVP alongside regular season MVP. Whatever happens, it’s been fascinating to see Canadian Basketball History unfold in real time.

 

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