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Canadian Zags and the FIBA World Cup

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  • Canadian Zags and the FIBA World Cup

    Just checking in to give an update on the FIBA World Cup this Summer and the Canadian Zag's possible involvement

    FIBA World Cup - Augst 25 throug Sept 10
    Host: Philipines (4 Pools and playoffs)
    Co-Hosts: Japan and Indonesia (two early round Pools each)

    Kelly Olynyk: expected to play and should be a center piece of the team. IMO he is a Top 3 most important player for Canada. He is just fantastically suited for FIBA play, and normal FIBA Kelly is NBA Kelly at his best (18p/9r/4a/1b/1s and a couple 3s type averages)
    Kevin Pangos: Expected to participate, but had an injury riddled season and a poor season overall even when healthy with Milan. He may decide to sit this one out. But if he plays he is a bench PG (perhaps 3rd) but his shooting will be valuable. Played the 2019 WC.
    Brandon Clarke: Out. Injured. Didnt seem interested in playing prior to the injury either. A shame as Canada could really use him with a thin front line.
    Kyle Wiltjer: Expected to be at training camp, on the cusp of making the team. Depends on who else shows up I suppose. Canada is thin upfront and with 3 point shooting, so he is one of the non-NBA players I see as most likely to make the team. Played the 2019 WC.
    Andrew Nembhard: Was not in the mix last year when they asked players for a three year committment ("the 14 man Core"), but had such an impressive season he will surely be invited to camp and likely travels to the exhibition games in Europe. I'm not sure if he makes the final roster, as it could depend on whether Pangos plays or not. I'd be suprised to see both. Good news is that he riased his hand and asked to be considered, even if not part of the Core 14.

    Other than the Zags, I feel good about SGA, Barrett, Dort, Nickel Alexander Walker, Cory Joseph, Oshae Brissett and Dwight Powell all playing. More of a maybe with Jamal Murray and unlikely for Andrew Wiggins. A few more NBA players are real unknowns (Boucher, Lyles, Birch, Brooks) and a few European players beyond Pangos will fill in holes (Wiltjer, Kyle Alexander, Melvin Ejim, Kassius Robertson, the Scrubb brothers among the most likely). Could be a good team if they gel together and form some chemsitry.

    Non-Canadian Zags:
    Rui looks very likely to play for Japan (hosted in Japan).
    Sabonis looks like a near lock with Lithuania.
    Filip Petrušev has been playing great of late and he could crack the Serbian roster.

    Any others of note?

  • #2
    Thanks for the summary Mojo, The Canadian team will be very good on paper, will be interesting to see how well the gel on the court.

    I watched the team play here in 2019 and Andrew looked fearless back then, he would be a nice addition. Kyle should also get a spot if Boucher doesn't play.


    • #3
      Great 18 man training camp list for Canada:

      Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
      Jamal Murray
      RJ Barrett
      Dillon Brooks
      Luguentz Dort
      Kelly Olynyk
      Cory Joseph
      Dwight Powell
      Nickeil Alexander-Walker
      Oshae Brissett
      Zach Edey
      Melvin Ejim
      Kevin Pangos
      Kyle Alexander
      Trae Bell-Haynes
      Kassius Robertson
      Phil Scrubb
      Thomas Scrubb​

      No Nembhard, Clarke or Wiltjer but Olynyk and Pangos are there.

      Pangos is on the edge of making this team (started the last FIBA WC for Canada) but Olynyk will be a focal point with SGA and Murray assuming everyone gets through camp and the exhibitions in one piece.

      Here is their schedule over the next month:

      Friendlies (in Germany & Spain)
      8/9 vs Germany
      8/12 vs New Zealand
      8/13 vs Germany/China
      8/18 vs Spain
      8/19 vs Domincan Rep
      Maybe 1 more in Jakarta 22nd-23rd

      Round 1 of the WC (Jakarta)
      8/25 vs France
      8/27 vs Lebanon
      8/29 vs Latvia

      Round 2: TBD


      • #4
        While Kevin may has left to sort out his future (due to injuries etc.), Kelly is still very much an integral part of the Canadian team.

        After three exhibition games it appears that the starting lineup is;

        Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
        RJ Barrett
        Dillon Brooks
        Kelly Olynyk
        Dwight Powell​

        If Jamal Muray joins the team at the WC then he would most likely replace Barrett (who did have a big 2nd game against Germany).

        The bench is reasonable with Dort, NAW, and Alexander likely to make the most impact.


        • #5
          Well, anyone doubting whether Canada could be successful without Andrew Wiggins and Jamal Murray got the answer with a resounding thumping of defending champs France 95-65.

          Canada v France boxscore - FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 - 25 August -

          Kelly played a big role, with 18 points and frustrating Gobert along the way.

          FIBA ball really suits Kelly and he and Dwight Powell form a good (but not intimidating) front court. They complement each other allowing Kelly to do what he does best, spread the floor.

          Kelly's bounce pass assist, on one of Lugentz Dort's layups was a thing of beauty.

          Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was undoubtedly the best player on the floor, but his cousin Nickeil Alexander-Walker and ​Dillon Brooks also had a great games.

          After a slow first quarter the Canadians slowly took over and their defence ramped up in the 2nd half, limiting France to only 25 points.

          Mojo13 is actually over in Jakarta, hopefully he can share some insights from the event.


          • #6
            Well on to the Semi-finals as Kelly and the Canucks beat Doncic and the Slovenians by 11 in the quarters.

            They now get a match with former Zag, Filip Petrusev and his Serbian countrymen.

            Kelly has done whatever has been needed for his team with his passing being especially valuable.

            + 27 vs Slovenia.

            Will be an interesting matchup (if they play against each other) as Petrusev has been an efficient scorer coming off the bench...
            Last edited by OZZY; 09-06-2023, 10:39 PM.


            • #7
              Obviously everyone knows by now that Canada beat the USA in OT 127-119 for bronze medal.

              It was a nailbiter with the USA team tying it with 0.6 of a second left on a great individual play by Bridges (I actually called it before it happened).

              Kelly almost went one better in regulation with a long three pointer that hit the back of the rim as time expired.

              Overall, Kelly had a pretty good tournament and, as Captain, can be proud of how the team came together.

              All the Canadian players sure played with passion, I'm sure fired up by KO.

              Without many of their NBA players (only 7 on the squad) Canada still got by with enough talent and teamwork to get the job done.

              On to the Paris Olympics, it will be interesting to see who ends up being added to the Canadian team.

              The Zags could get more representation this time with Andrew Nembhard and Brandon Clark possibilities.

              There are only so many minutes to go around (40 minutes and only 5 fouls in the FIBA format) so some good players may not see much court time.

              On a side note, many hate him, but I loved how Dillon Brooks showed up at this tournament (also interesting that Luka praised him afterwards).