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The Canadian Men’s Basketball Team Could Go For Gold at the 2024 Paris Olympics

Credit: Marco Steinbrenner/Getty Images


With the 2024 Paris Olympics approaching, fans of Canada basketball should be absolutely ecstatic, as the state of Canadian basketball has never been better.


For the men’s team especially, a massive surge in winning results over the course of just two years are beginning to serve as a reflection of the program’s process. Canada has never been a basketball giant, especially with their North American counterparts, the United States, overshadowing our progress and small victories with their legendary talent and 16 Olympic gold medals. But fans have noticed a shift in that balance, especially after Canada punched their ticket to the Paris Olympics following a historical bronze medal win at the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup with a 127-118 overtime win over the United States.


The 2024 Olympics will mark the first time in 20 years that the Canadian team has a real shot at bringing prosperity and victory to their home country. However, it’s not as if Canada has lacked talent in the past, as NBA and Canadian basketball legends like Steve Nash and Rick Fox battled hard in the past to put respect on Canada’s name. So, why is the team succeeding all of a sudden? 


A massive piece of their recent success is grounded in a three-year commitment deal that players signed in May 2022 with each other and Canada’s basketball federation. Essentially, the commitment erased any possibility of players unexpectedly backing out - barring major injuries - while allowing the team to primarily focus on developing their chemistry for future tournaments. Not only did this further cement that crucial connection between players and coaching staff, it also somewhat legitimised the program, as it introduced a newfound sense of urgency and desire to win that was severely lacking in previous years. 


However, the main part of Canada’s success is the level of talent that is currently carrying the team to victory. The team consists of 7 active NBA players, a total of 20 players who are currently listed on an NBA roster and multiple NCAA Division 1 superstars.


Canada Basketball Bronze Medal

Credit: Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images


The team lead is led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is unquestionably Canada’s number one guy heading into the Olympics. SGA currently plays in the NBA for the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he has cemented himself as Canada’s top player in the NBA. At just 25 years old, SGA this season is averaging 31.2 points, 6.5 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game, not only putting Canada on the map but also making a case for this year’s NBA MVP award. He also established himself as an international superstar at the FIBA competition, dropping 31 points and 12 assists in the bronze medal match against the USA. 


Gilgeous-Alexander is only getting better, which is encouraging for Canada and their fans, however, it should be scary for other nations. Barring injury, SGA will hopefully lead Canada to a deep Olympic run this year, with the ultimate goal being gold. 


To complement SGA in the backcourt, Jamal Murray will hopefully opt in for the 2024 Olympics, which could very well give Canada the best backcourt in the entire competition. Jamal Murray, who also plays in the NBA for the Denver Nuggets, sat out of the FIBA World Cup due to ACL rehabilitation and a heavy workload during Denver’s 2023 championship run. However, the guard who averages 20.6 points, 6.4 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game for the Nuggets, could very well be poised to join Canada for this year’s Olympic run. Murray is an essential piece, as the path to medalling starts with getting SGA and Murray on the court together.


Another crucial piece is potentially the NBA’s current most hated player Dillon Brooks. Brooks, who plays for the Houston Rockets, has a big mouth, instigates players and plays hard, physical defence. He’s horrible to play against for other teams and countries, but he’s a must-pick player for Team Canada. Brooks dropped 39 points in that bronze medal game in the FIBA World Cup and was named the tournament’s top defender. Brooks is easily one of the world’s best perimeter defenders, which will go a long way when Canada faces the level of guard talent they will meet at the Olympics. 


The final two pieces Canada would need to make their run at Olympic gold this year are RJ Barrett and Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins, who played a massive role in Golden State’s 2022 NBA Championship victory, could very well be a third option behind Murray and SGA. Despite a bit of a slump in production for the Warriors this season, Wiggins remains one of the NBA’s most dangerous scorers which remains a fact on the international level. Being a third option would mean opposing defences have to pick their poison, giving Wiggins even more freedom than he had being the fourth-leading scorer during the Golden State title run. 


RJ Barrett also offers Canada some versatility on the offensive end. At just 23 years old, Barrett is a killer. He shreds through opposing defences with his powerful rim-runs, but can also put up a silky-smooth jumper when needed. Despite experiencing highs and lows for Canada at the FIBA World Cup, Barrett has now got another season of NBA experience under his belt with the Toronto Raptors, where he is proving he is ready to take that next step and put on for his home country at the 2024 Paris Olympics.


Canada Basketball Team Huddle

Credit: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AP


With all these players on board, alongside other pieces like Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Kelly Olynyk and even the Purdue Boilermakers superstar Zach Edey, Canada has a real shot at going for gold at this year’s Olympics.


Canada’s only Olympic medal game was in 1936, when the sport made its Olympic debut in Berlin and Canada took home the Silver medal. Winning a medal this year, let alone gold, would not only revive Canada basketball’s Olympic glory, but it would do so much for Canada as a basketball country on top of our development of the sport.


Obviously, there will be some major competition standing in Canada’s way at the Olympics. The United States is presumably assembling a dream team, consisting of basketball legends and future Hall of Famers including Lebron James, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Joel Embiid. France will have rookie phenom Victor Wembanyama, complemented by the up-and-coming rookie Bilal Coulibaly and NBA superstar Rudy Gobert. In no world will it be an easy path, but with the way Canada’s roster is shaping up, they are guaranteed to be fit for the challenge.


As the Olympics approach and team rosters start to take their final shapes, do not underestimate Team Canada, as they will be looking to put some respect on Canada as a basketball country with their sights set high on Olympic glory.



Edited By: Josh Reidelbach





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