Pacers make history with three Canadians in starting lineup vs. Raptors

The Indiana Pacers boast three Canadian players on their roster, so we decided to let Oshae Brissett, Andrew Nembhard and Ben Mathurin hold court and discuss all things Canadian Basketball, in this exclusive roundtable.

The Indiana Pacers made history by starting three Canadians against the Toronto Raptors Wednesday, on a night when the Raptors are celebrating Canada Basketball Night.

Montreal native Bennedict Mathurin, Aurora, Ont., native Andrew Nembhard and Toronto native Oshae Brissett all were in the starting lineup for the Pacers in a 118-114 win over the Raptors.

“Pretty cool thing for those guys to come back,” Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said before the game. “It also speaks to what’s happening in Canada in terms of development. Pretty amazing, pretty breathtaking… This country has become a real hotbed for basketball talent.”

Nembhard, 23, was the 31st pick in the 2022 NBA Draft and is second among all rookies with four assists per game while averaging 8.6 points. He led the Pacers in scoring with 25 points and 10 assists in front of 200 friends and family Wednesday.

Mathurin, 20, was taken by the Pacers sixth overall in the 2022 NBA Draft. He is second in NBA rookie scoring with 16.7 points per game while shooting 43 per cent from the field in 68 games. He finished the game with 15 points and two rebounds while going a perfect 3-3 from distance.

Brissett, 24, made his NBA debut with the Raptors in 2019-20 and is in his third season with the Pacers. He is averaging 5.8 points and 3.6 rebounds this season. He had nine points and six rebounds in the win.

The three players were featured in a roundtable discussion about the growth of Canadian basketball shown on Sportsnet before the game. Canada is the second-most represented country in the NBA with 23 players on rosters to start this season.

“Canada is really on the rise,” Brissett says in the feature.

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