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28 Canadians on opening day rosters for 2023-24 NBA basketball season
28 Canadians on opening day rosters for 2023-24 NBA basketball season
28 Canadians on opening day rosters for the 2023-24 NBA season. Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Minnesotta Timberwolves), Dalano Banton (Boston Celtics), RJ Barrett (New York Knicks), Charles Bediako (San Antonio Spurs), Chris Boucher (Toronto Raptors), Oshae Brissett (Boston Celtics), Dillon Brooks (Houston Rockets), Brandon Clarke (Memphis Grizzlies), Luguentz Dort (Oklahoma City Thunder), Chris Duarte (Sacramento Kings), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City Thunder), Caleb Houstan (Sacramento Kings), Cory Joseph (Golden State Warriors), A.J. Lawson (Dallas Mavericks), Trey Lyles (Sacramento Kings), Bennedict Mathurin (Indiana Pacers), Leonard Miller (Minnesota Timberwolves), Jamal Murray (Denver Nuggets), Andrew Nembhard (Indiana Pacers), Kelly Olynyk (Utah Jazz), Eugene Omoruyi (Washington Wizards), Dwight Powell (Dallas Mavericks), Joshua Primo (Los Angeles Cliipers), Olivier-Maxence Prosper (Dallas Mavericks), Shaedon Sharpe (Portland Trail Blazers), Tristan Thompson (Cleveland Cavaliers, Andrew Wiggins (Golden State Warriors), Lindell Wigginton (Milwaukee Bucks). - Illustration: Edilson J. Silva/BasketballBuzz


Record 28 Canadians on 2023-24 NBA opening day rosters

A record 28 Canadians are on 2023-24 NBA opening day rosters. Breakdown the complete list with interactive charts and cool facts.

Piecing together Canadian NBA basketball history has always been a tough and challenging task.

Identifying, categorizing, and visualizing the number of players who have been drafted and/or played in the league used to be a mundane task reserved for hardcore Canadian basketball aficionados and history buffs. Today and in the coming years, it may require a data science degree.

In 2006, with the assistance of Canadian basketball historian Curtis Phillips, we published and printed a list of 17 Canadians who made the cut and played in the NBA.

At the time, the extensive list featured household names such as Leo Rautins, Steve Nash, Rick Fox, Jamaal Magloire, and Todd MacCulloch. It also served as one of the primary sources of information for Canadians who played in the NBA.

The article also highlighted names such as Hank Biasatti, Bobby Croft, Norm Baker, Ernie Vandeweghe, Ron Crevier, Brian Heaney, and Karl Tilleman, among others. This helped bridge the history and knowledge gap between the Canadians who played in the early days of the NBA and the modern league that we know today.

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Fast-forward to the opening night of the NBA’s 78th and 2023-24 season, Canada once again standing at the top of the international totem pole for the tenth straight season as the nation with the most players from outside the United States.

The number and date of Canadians playing in the NBA has not only become a noteworthy tracking point, but also a celebration of the nation’s rich and rapidly rising NBA history.

Record 28 Canadians in the NBA for 2023-24 season

Is it 26, 27, or 28? Regardless of how you and the NBA go about tabulating their international player numbers, it’s a new Canadian NBA record, surpassing last year’s mark of 24 players on opening night.

Now, let’s address the two anomalies: Chris Boucher and Chris Duarte. As a bonus, let’s also take a look at Eugene Omoruyi. Interestingly, all three attended Oregon.

First, the easy one: although Boucher was born in St. Lucia, he has played for the Canadian senior men’s national team, albeit in an exhibition match-up. Additionally, in his favour, he has spent the majority of his NBA career in Canada with the Raptors. Whether Boucher has actually obtained Canadian citizenship is a question for both Boucher and Immigration Canada.

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Now to the other, Chris. One of the interesting points of conversation has been whether to include Chris Duarte as a Canadian.

The simple, factual and short answer is that his father was a Canadian citizen. Now, we are not immigration consulting experts, but we are sure that if he wanted to take up Canadian citizenship, he would likely be successful, similar to newly inherited Canadian Aden Holloway.

Lastly, there is Eugene Omoruyi, who was born in Benin City, Nigeria. The Omoruyi family immigrated to Canada when he was just one year old. It is hard to believe that after all these years, he is not a Canadian citizen. The NBA has classified Omoruyi as a Nigerian player for their international player rankings.

All in all, to conclude, the official list of how many players have played in the NBA and their records, whether fact or fiction, has and will always be slightly skewed based on the duality of citizenship.

Now, if we were to go with a list of only “Canadian-born” players, the numbers would drop significantly. “The Nash Effect” would truly belong to South Africa, and Andrew Wiggins would already be crowned the Maple GOAT.

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Explore Canadian NBA graphs, charts and stats

Explore the comprehensive and record-breaking list of Canadians in the NBA for the 2023-24 season, and uncover intriguing statistical details from high school, college, and the NBA through interactive charts and data analysis.

Analyze geographical data and break-down which cities and provinces are responsible for Canada’s NBA talent.

Go deeper and discover which NCAA colleges and conferences are producing the most Canadian NBA players and which Draft round they were selected in. Trace back the roots with a graphical representation of which high schools or prep programs have developed the most Canadian NBA players.

Find intriguing matchups and delve into the percentage of players in the Eastern and Western conferences, and take it a step further and break down the numbers by each NBA division.

Canadians in the NBA – Hometown

Canada’s top basketball talent continues to make a tremendous impact in the NBA and across their diverse local communities that have raised and supported them along their journeys.

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Of the 28 players, 15 hail from different cities across the country. This is a testament to the growth of the sport in Canada, as more and more young athletes are honing their skills and making their way to the professional level.

Furthermore, this demonstrates that talent can originate from any location, and with proper commitment and preparation, anyone can achieve success in the major leagues.

In fact, Mississauga, the seventh most populous city in Canada just outside Toronto, boasts an impressive five players in the NBA. This makes it the city with the highest Canadian representation in the league.

Toronto and Montreal, the two most populated cities in Canada, both have four players in the NBA, followed by Brampton with three. However, it is not just the big cities that are producing NBA players.

Smaller cities like Vaughan, Pickering, London, Vancouver, Saskatoon, Kamloops, Kitchener, Hamilton, Dartmouth and Aurora all have at least one player representing them in the league.

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Canadians in the NBA – Province

If the NCAA numbers weren’t convincing enough, the NBA ones sure do tell the story. The province of Ontario is king when it comes to basketball numbers. A staggering 19 Canadian NBA players hail from this province.

This is a testament to the strong basketball culture and talent pool in Ontario. Quebec continues to grow its number of NBA players and now has four players representing the largest Canadian province by area. British Columbia is next with two players, while Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan both have one.

Canadians in the NBA – College

The story of the top-producing NCAA Division I programs, featuring Canadian NBA players, is one of longevity. Three of the top five schools that have helped develop Canadian NBA players have had head coaches who have been at the helm of the men’s basketball program for over 15 years.

Legendary, future first-ballot hall-of-fame coaches, Mark Few, John Calipari, and Dana Altman have all built strong Canadian basketball recruiting pipelines at Gonzaga, Kentucky, and Oregon.

But, when it’s all said and done, Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats will go down as potentially having three of the top five (Nash and Wiggins) all-time Canadian scoring guards in NBA history. Calipari has groomed NBA champion Jamal Murray, soon-to-be all-time Canadian leading scorer Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and perhaps the most talented of them all, Shaedon Sharpe.

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For the 2023-24 season, Kentucky and Oregon lead the pack with four former Canadian players in the NBA, followed by Gonzaga with three. The Texas Longhorns’ Canadian duo of Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph are holding down Hook ‘Em Nation and former head coach Rick Barnes’ legacy in Austin.

Thirteen other NCAA schools have at least one Canadian NBA alumni, and Leonard Miller has the unique label of being the only Canadian player in the NBA who did not play NCAA college basketball.

Canadians in the NBA – NCAA College Conference

Are you an aspiring Canadian basketball player who wants to play in the NBA one day? If so go to one of these power six conferences and increase your odds of making it to big league.

Let’s take a look at which NCAA conferences have produced the most Canadians in the NBA for the 2023-24 season. The Pac-12 is the hot commodity, as seven of the 28 players have played college basketball in the conference of champions.

The Southeastern Conference (SEC) also has strong representation, with six. The Big 12 also hold well with four players, followed by the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and West Coast Conference (WCC) with three. Both the Big Ten (2) and Big East (1) round out the numbers.

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Canadians in the NBA – High school

The Canadian NBA recruiting pipeline usually starts at the high school and prep level. Traditionally, many of Canada’s young stars leave home to join the best programs across the border in the United States, and most recently, Mexico, at the NBA Academy Latin America.

Those who decide to stay home usually relocate to the top Canadian prep school.

The top producing high school/prep program for Canadian NBA players is none other than Orangeville Prep, with four (Jamal Murray, Eugene Omoruyi) of their six Canadian NBA alumni currently having spent time at the Athlete Institute athletic centre in Mono, Ontario.

The official data shows that both Luguentz Dort and Oshae Brissett attended Athlete Institute Prep, which is correct. The program was rebranded as Orangeville Prep shortly after they left for the NCAA college ranks.

Understandably, as part of the NBA journey, most players play for multiple high school/prep programs. For the sake of this visualization exercise, we are using the last school attended prior to joining the NBA.

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Both Findlay Prep (Nevada) and Montverde Academy (Florida) have three players each. Created in 2006, the now defunct Henderson, Nevada program has seven notable Canadian NBA alumni.

Current NBA veterans Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph and Dillon Brooks and former number one pick Anthony Bennett as well as Naz Mitrou-Long, Justin Jackson and Brissett all attended the previously labelled basketball factory.

Canadians in the NBA – Draft round

One of the biggest contrasts between the early days and current NBA, is the draft round in which Canadian players were selected. Prior to the league moving to a two-round format in 1989, only seven Canadians had been taken in the first two rounds since 1947.

Starting with Rick Fox in the 1991 NBA Draft, 24 Canadians have been selected in the first round. Currently, 15 of them are active and on opening night rosters for the 2023-24 NBA season.

While the majority of all recently selected Canadians in the NBA were drafted in the first round of the draft, there is also a strong contingent of second-round selections who have carved out strong careers and earned themselves multi-million dollar contracts.

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Highlighted by the Montreal duo of Luguentz Dort and Chris Boucher, the list also features a record-high six undrafted players under NBA payrolls.

Canadians in the NBA – Conference

The last two NBA champions have been crowned from the Western Conference. Both Andrew Wiggins and Jamal Murray played key roles in winning their first NBA championships.

A closer look at the data revels 18 Canadian players on Western Conference teams and 10 on Eastern Conference rosters. Additionally, six of the top ten Canadian NBA scores are on the Western Conference.

Canadians in the NBA – Division

Let’s take a closer look at the division distribution for the Canadians in the NBA and see how they stack up against each other.

The Northwest division has the most Canadian players with seven and promises to deliver some intriguing match-ups between the Kentucky trio of Jamal Murray, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and rising star Shaedon Sharpe.

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The Pacific and Southwest divisions each have five, followed by the Atlantic and Central divisions with four. Lastly, the Southeast has two Canadian NBA players in the division.

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