History was made in the NBA draft on Thursday when the first ever Canadian-born player was selected with the 1st overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2013 NBA Draft. Anthony Bennett (UNLV) went first in the draft, but will he ever be considered one of the best Canadians to play in the NBA? Only time will tell. In the mean time, here are the Top 5 Canucks to ever play in the NBA who have come before him…
Born: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
High School: Eastern Commerce Collegiate Institute (Toronto)
College: University of Kentucky
1st Round, 19th Pick
Career: 2001-2012 (12 seasons)
NBA All-Star (2004)
Best Season (2003-2004): 13.6 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 1.0 bpg
A footnote in NBA history, Magloire made some Canadian history in two respects: Magloire was the first Canadian born NBA player to play for the Toronto Raptors and Magloire was only the second Canadian to make an All-Star game. In 2004, he made his only All-Star appearance, a memorable 19 points and 8 rebounds in 21 minutes.
Born: Vancouver, Canada
High School: Queen Anne (Washington)
College: University of Washington
1st Round, 2nd Pick
Career: 1954-1958 (5 seasons)
Best Season (1956-1957): 11.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.9 apg
Houbregs was a key role player on the Fort Wayne Pistons that made two consecutive NBA Finals (’55-’56). He’s been immortalized in the Hall of Fame and the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame.
Born: Port-as-Prince, Haiti (Nationality: Canadian/Haitian)
High School: St. Patrick (New Jersey)
College: Seton Hall
1st round, 26th Pick
Career: 2002-present (11 seasons)
Best Season (2007-2008): 10.5 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 2.3 bpg
Dalembert has long been a solid NBA center, posting over 8 rebounds, 10 points, and almost 2 blocks per game. Although he’s not known as an offensive threat, Dalembert has a great touch of his shot—even last season (2012-2013) he shot just under his career high from the field, 54.2% (career high: 54.5%). And, he’s probably the best Canadian shot blocker in NBA history.
Born: Toronto, Canada
High School: Warsaw Community (Indiana)
College: University of North Carolina
1st Round, 24th Pick
Career: 1992-2004 (13 seasons)
Best Season (1996-1997): 15.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.8 apg, 2.2 spg
3-time NBA Champion
Fox was the defensive stopper at the guard/forward position on a Lakers team that won back-to-back-to-back NBA Championships. Fox was strong for his position, able to play effective defense on the wing as well as in the post. When given the chance, Fox could finish effectively on the fast break, and when necessary, he could create his own offense even in pressure playoff moments. Fox was crafty and could draw the charge, and his quick hands afforded him his share of steals.
Born: Johannesburg, South Africa (Nationality: Canadian/British)
High School: St. Michaels University School (Victoria, British Columbia)
College: Santa Clara University
1st Round, 15th Pick
Career: 1997-present (17 seasons)
5-time Leader in Assists
Best Season (2006-2007): 18.6 ppg, 11.6 apg, 45.5% 3’s, 53.2% FG, 89.9% FT
Far and away the greatest Canadian to ever play in the NBA, Nash is one of the most elegant, magical, and fun-to-watch guards the game has ever seen. Like a modern day Bob Cousy, Nash is a gifted dribbler and passer, who uses his incredible basketball I.Q. to command his team’s offense to great success. Like Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Nash is a master at running the fast break and delivering the perfectly placed no-look pass and lob pass. And, Nash’s Phoenix Suns teams were the closest thing we’ve seen to the “Showtime,” since Chris Webber’s Kings and Gary Payton’s Sonics. Besides his skill set, Nash has carved out his own place in NBA history. He was the 1st Canadian selected to an All-Star game and, percentage-wise, he’s the best free throw shooter in NBA history. As of 2013, Nash has shot over 90% from the free throw line for the season 8 times. Nash is the 3rd point guard to win the MVP award (Magic and Cousy). And, he’s only the 3rd guard to win back-to-back MVP’s (Magic and Jordan). Finally, Nash will always be remembered as one of the greatest shooters in NBA history, as he is only the 4th player to join the 50-40-90 Club (50% FG, 40% 3PT, 90% FT for a season), joining shooting aces Larry Bird, Mark Price, and Reggie Miller.
Steve Nash Highlights:
*We thought this post was extra fitting for publishing today given that July 1st is Canada Day.*