Canadian NBA gamers journey to Victoria for nationwide satisfaction, not cash

The eight Canadian NBA players traveled to Victoria for the basketball qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics from June 29 to July 4 and are playing for a lot of money in their clubs. You are basically representing Canada for free and for more personal reasons.

It won’t be a small matter for Nickeil Alexander-Walker when the 17th overall selection in the 2019 NBA Draft wears the Maple Leaf jersey at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Center this month.

“The opportunity to play for my country is not something to be taken lightly, and I want to make the most of it,” said the two-meter-tall guardian of the New Orleans Pelicans during a Zoom conference call Monday with the Canadian media.

“When I was younger and had these opportunities, I was grateful to represent my country,” added the Toronto native, who won silver with Canada at the 2016 U-18 FIBA ​​Americas Championship in Chile and the tournament at 17, 4 points per. cited game.

19 players take part in the Canadian training camp in Tampa, Florida.

“It was a lot of fun with a lot of great personalities. We’ll find the chemistry and the common denominator, ”said Alexander-Walker, who worked at Virginia Tech in the NCAA.

Alexander-Walker represents the kind of depth Canada has – and will need – in hoops now, as its 17 NBA players have been reduced to eight for Olympic qualification for several reasons. But that’s still more than any of the other five teams in qualifying.

Alexander-Walker joins Canadian NBA players Andrew Wiggins (Golden State), RJ Barrett (New York), Trey Lyles (San Antonio), Lugentz Dort (Oklahoma City), Cory Joseph (Detroit), Dwight Powell (Dallas) and Mychal Mulder at (Golden State) to Blanshard Street.

Missing injuries are Denver Nuggets star Jamal Murray, who is out with a cruciate ligament rupture and the greatest loss, Chris Boucher and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Kamloops’ Kelly Olynyk and Khem Birch are on the verge of becoming NBA free agents so they have no insurance and simply cannot risk their livelihood while playing for Canada between NBA teams.

Dillon Brooks and Oshae Brissett are not attending camp.

“Our # 1 focus right now is who we have and what we need to do to win … and bring that group together in all roles,” said Canada’s GM Rowan Barrett.

There is too little time to worry about who is not in camp.

“We have to forge our own identity and be who we are and be comfortable with our own identity,” said Canada’s head coach Nick Nurse of Zoom.

The Toronto Raptors NBA bank chief named three keys to Canada’s success: “Number one is defense. Number two shares the ball on the offensive. Number three is connected with heart and passion. “

Canada is trying to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since two-time Victoria NBA MVP Steve Nash led the national team to the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Current Brooklyn Nets head coach Nash did Canada a huge favor by losing over the weekend. The Nets’ playoff loss in Game 7 against the Milwaukee Bucks means that Greek superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, also a two-time NBA MVP, is unavailable for his country for the Victoria qualifier, which includes Canada, Greece, China, Uruguay stands. Turkey and the Czech Republic. The tournament winner will be promoted to the Olympic Games in Tokyo from July 23rd.

Canada, which drop out of camp in Florida this week and arrive in Victoria on Friday, will be the only team to make it through to qualifying without the opportunity to play exhibition games. Greece have played three times in preparation for arriving on the island this week.

“All the teams in our group are playing and we’ve seen most of those games,” said Nurse.

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