The 2013-14 NBA season starts this week. With Canadian fortunes in basketball – both men and women – on the rise, there is more excitement than ever north of the border. Here are nine Canadians to look for in the NBA this year and yes, we spell “centre” the way Dr. James Naismith might have done.
Joel Anthony, Miami Heat
The Miami centre from Montreal has won two NBA titles with the Heat and will look to bounce back from a season plagued by injury troubles.
Anthony Bennett, Cleveland Cavaliers
The first overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft will enter his rookie season with great expectations. The power forward has a unique Canadian situation in Cleveland, where he will be vying for minutes against a fellow Torontonian. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Samuel Dalembert, Dallas Mavericks
The Haiti-born Montrealer calls Dallas home, where he tops the depth chart at the centre position, on a front court that features NBA superstar Dirk Nowitzki.
Cory Joseph, San Antonio Spurs
Another Torontonian in his early 20s, Joseph is likely to be the top backup to point guard Tony Parker in San Antonio.
Steve Nash, Los Angeles Lakers
The two-time NBA Most Valuable Player (2005 & 2006) was easily the best Canadian player of his generation. At 39, Nash could see fewer minutes this season as the Lakers plan to keep the point guard healthy for a long playoff run.
Andrew Nicholson, Orlando Magic
The 23-year old power forward from Mississauga could take advantage of injuries to teammates and rack up starter minutes and stats to begin the season.
Kelly Olynyk, Boston Celtics
Another rookie from the 2013 draft, Olynyk comes from a west coast-based Toronto basketball family. He battled for the starting centre position on the Celtics throughout preseason.
Robert Sacre, Los Angeles Lakers
A dual-citizen of the United States and Canada, Sacre represents the north internationally and fights for every minute with the Lakers, which could rise if superstar centre Pao Gasol is rested. (Photo: AP Photo/Pat Sulliva, Wikimedia Commons)
Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers
Joined by Bennett in Cleveland, the 2011 fourth overall draft pick saw his numbers improve massively in his sophomore year. The Torontonian raised in Brampton could post some scary stats this season.
All photos from The Canadian Press unless otherwise noted.