The 2019 NBA Draft was a historic one for Canadian basketball.
A record six Canucks were selected Thursday night with four being taken in the first round, alone.
Mississauga Ont., native and Duke freshman phenom R.J. Barrett was taken third overall by the New York Knicks. And joining Barrett in Gotham will be Oakville’s Ignas Brazdeikis, who was taken 47th overall in the second round by the Sacramento Kings but had his draft rights traded to the Knicks.
Toronto’s Nickeil Alexander-Walker was taken No. 17 overall by the Brooklyn Nets but he actually will be making his way to the New Orleans Pelicans because of a trade with the Atlanta Hawks and will get a chance to play with No. 1 overall selection Zion Williamson.
A few picks after Alexander-Walker, Vancouver’s Brandon Clarke was taken 21st overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder who were picking for the Memphis Grizzlies after those two teams made a trade with each other. In heading to Memphis, Clarke will play with No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant.
Then, at No. 27, Florida State forward, Dikembe Mutombo’s nephew and Burlinton, Ont., native Mfiondu Kabengele was drafted by the Brooklyn Nets who were selecting him for the Los Angeles Clippers. That move that will see Kabengele potentially work some pick-and-roll magic with fellow Canadian Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in Los Angeles.
Lastly, back in the second round, Ottawa’s Marial Shayok was taken 54th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers.
From the Toronto Raptors winning the NBA title to Raptors coach Nick Nurse coaching Team Canada later this summer and now this sextuplet of Canadian talent at the draft, basketball has never seemed bigger in Canada than now.