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Canada's Olympic Team Set, Minus Some NBA Talent

Most critically Andrew Wiggins

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Remember Tyler Ennis? We'll see him again soon.
Remember Tyler Ennis? We'll see him again soon.
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

As we've said before, Canada is developing some really fine basketball talent.

It's not all going to be on the floor when Canada tries for an Olympic spot starting on the 5th.

Andrew Wiggins, Kelly Olynyk and Jamal Murray won't be there.

However, Canada is bringing five NBA players: Joel Anthony, Anthony Bennett, Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson.

Some other guys are just below that level - Khem Birch, Melvin Ejim and Brady Heslip.

If they had the first three, they'd have eight NBA players, which is pretty high.

Still, it's a pretty good roster and as good as it can be at times, international basketball is not NBA ball. And in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Canada has a tremendous asset, one you may remember quite well: former Syracuse star Tyler Ennis.

Ennis hasn't been a huge success in the NBA yet but he has shown improvement.

At Syracuse though he showed a preternatural feel for the game and most especially an immense desire with the game on the line.

We could see this again in the OQT as well.

Canada hasn't made the Olympic field yet, but the northerners have some advantages over most of the rest of the field. They are athletic, they are highly skilled and they understand the American game better than anyone else in the world because, basically, they're growing up playing it.

Even the guys who haven't made it to the NBA largely played college ball in America.

Melvin Ejim played at Iowa State. Joel Anthony was a UNLV Runnin' Rebel. Khem Birch played at UNLV and Pitt while Brady Heslip was at Baylor and BC.

Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson? Texas.

In the long run, we think the Canadians are likely to be the toughest challenger for the U.S. Perhaps not this year though.

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