Canadian basketball players have began to make a splash in the NBA. Having five first round picks in the last three drafts, including the first pick overall in the 2013 draft is just the beginning of things to come. There are Canadian kids playing at big time programs all throughout the NCAA such as Kansas, Kentucky, Gonzaga, Stanford, Michigan and Syracuse just to name a few. The number one recruit was even a Canadian. With such a bright future on the horizon I’ve decided to look back and see who paved the way to the NBA and rank the best 25 Canadian NBA players of all time. It wasn’t a tough list to come up with since only 26 Canucks have ever played in the league or its precursor, the BAA.
T25. Kelly Olynyk- Olynyk has yet to play and NBA game but is on this list because he was a lottery pick in the 2013 draft. Olynyk will get plenty of opportunities to succeed with the Boston Celtics under new coach Brad Stevens.
T25. Anthony Bennett- Bennett was the first overall pick in the 2013 draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. As Bennett plays games this season, he will jump up this list rather quickly. He is one of the new breed of Canadian players that is ready for the big time right away.
24. Ron Crevier- Crevier was the 75th pick in the fourth round of the 1983 draft by the Chicago Bulls. He didn’t play a game in the league until more than two years later. Crevier played three games in his entire NBA career while playing for the Detroit Pistons and the Golden State Warriors. In those three games, Crevier played a grand total of four minutes and never registered a point. He did manage to collect a rebound and two fouls while missing two free throws.
23. Norm Baker- Baker played for the Chicago Stags of the BAA during the 1946-1947 season when he played in four games. During his time on the floor he registered one missed shot and nothing more.
22. Jim Zoet- Zoet made it to the NBA six years after he left Kent State. He saw 30 minutes of NBA action while playing seven games for the Detroit Pistons in the 1982-1983 season. During his time on the floor Zoet scored one basket but managed to grab 8 rebounds and block three shots.
21. Hank Biasatti- Biasatti may be better known for his time spent playing major league baseball but he also played 6 games as a member of the original Toronto Huskies in 1946-47. Biasatti only saw action in six games that season totaling six points before being released by the Huskies to focus on baseball.
20. Gino Sovran- Sovran also spent part of the 1946-1947 season with the Toronto Huskies and saw the floor in six games. He scored 11 points in those six games to go along with one assist.
19. Andy Rautins- Son of legendary Canadian player and national team head coach Leo Rautins, Andy followed in his father’s footsteps to Syracuse University and then to the NBA. Rautins was the 38th pick in the 2010 draft by the New York Knicks and played in five games his rookie season. In those five games, Rautins played 24 minutes totaling eight points, three assists and a steal.
18. Kris Joseph- Joseph also played his college ball at Syracuse before being drafted with the 51st pick of the second round in the 2012 draft by the Boston Celtics. Joseph saw action in ten games for the Celtics and New Jersey Nets and scored nine points to go along with seven rebounds and three steals in 54 minutes of action.
17. Leo Rautins- Rautins only managed to play 32 games in two seasons before finishing his pro career in Europe. Rautins was the 17th pick of the first round by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1983 draft. He spent his first NBA season with the Sixers and scored 48 points in 28 games. Rautins ended his NBA career a year later when he played four games for the Atlanta Hawks.
16. Robert Sacre- Sacre is one of the young Canadians just embarking on his NBA career. Sacre played in 32 games last year after being taken with a second round pick by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2012 draft. Sacre averaged 1.3 points and 1.1 rebounds backing up Dwight Howard.
15. Lars Hansen- Hansen suited up for the Seattle Sonics in the 1978-1979 season. While he only played in 15 games he produced in the short time he had on the floor. Hansen played a little more than 13 minutes a night and averaged more than five points and 3.9 rebounds while shooting more than 50% from the field.
14. Stewart Granger- Granger was the 24th pick in the first round of the 1983 draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Granger only last three years In the NBA, playing for three different teams. During his short NBA career, Granger averaged four points, 2.2 assists and a rebound per game.
13. Cory Joseph- Joseph was drafted in the first round of the 2011 draft by the San Antonio Spurs after playing one year at Texas. Joseph has spent two seasons in the Spurs organization learning the ropes. He made huge strides during this last season and is now backup to all-star point guard Tony Parker.
12. Mike Smrek- Smrek spent seven seasons in the NBA and saw action in almost 200 games. Although never seeing much time, Smrek has two NBA Championship rings from Playing with the Los Angeles Lakers in the late 80’s.
11. Joel Anthony- Anthony is currently a member of the World Champion Miami Heat. Anthony has spent six years as a member of the Heat and started 110 games. Although not much of an offensive threat, Anthony in an effective rebounder and shot blocker.
10. Bill Wennington- Wennington had a 13 year NBA career that included three titles as a member of the Chicago Bulls. While he only started 88 games in his entire career and playing only about 13 minutes a night, Wennington managed to average almost five points and three rebounds.
9. Andrew Nicholson- Nicholson just finished a very productive rookie season for the Orlando Magic. Nicholson played almost 17 minutes a night over his 75 games and averaged 7.8 points and 3.4 rebounds.
8. Todd MacCulloch- MacCulloch only last four seasons in the NBA because of bad feet but was a very productive player when he was healthy. During his time as a Sixer and Net, MacCulloch averaged more than six points and four rebounds a game. His best season came as a member of the New Jersey Nets when in 2002-2003, MacColluch averaged 9.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks a night while starting 61 games.
7. Tristan Thompson- Thompson has only been in the NBA for two seasons after being taken with the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft. After starting only 25 games as a rookie Thompson stepped up last year by starting all 82 games. He rewarded the Cavs by averaging 11.7 points and 9.4 rebounds a game.
6. Jamaal Magloire- Magloire played 12 seasons in the NBA and started more than 300 games. For his career, Magloire averaged 7.2 points and 6.5 rebounds a game. His best season came back in 2003-2004 when Magloire averaged 13.6 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks a night while earning a spot in the all-star game.
5. Samuel Dalembert- Dalembert has spent 11 seasons in the NBA playing for four different teams. Dalembert has started more than 600 games and averaged eight points and 8.1 rebounds a night. Not bad when you consider he only averages six shots a game.
4. Ernie Vandeweghe- Vandeweghe played in the NBA from 1949-1956 before leaving the game to become a doctor. He spent six seasons playing for the New York Knicks and averaged just shy of ten points a night to go along with four and a half rebounds and almost two and a half assists.
3. Rick Fox- Fox played 13 years in the NBA playing for the two best franchises possible. His best season came in Boston, when Fox averaged 15.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.2 steals a game in 1996-1997. Fox won three championship rings while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.
2. Bob Houbregs- Houbregs is the only Canadian NBA player in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. He was the second overall pick in the 1953 out of the University of Washington. Houbregs only spent 5 seasons in the NBA having his greatest success as a member of the Fort Wayne Pistons. He averaged more than 11 points, six rebounds and two assists in his two full years in Fort Wayne.
1. Steve Nash- undoubtedly the greatest Canadian player to ever play in the NBA is Steve Nash. Nash has played 17 seasons in the league making 8 all-star games and winning two MVP awards. For his career, Nash has averaged 14.4 points, 8.5 assists and three rebounds a game, while making all-NBA first team three times. Nash was also named second or third team four more times during his illustrious career.