TORONTO – The FIBA Qualifiers in Manila are coming up soon, Canada will be looking to book their ticket to the Rio Olympics this upcoming August.
However, with many Canadian players not participating in the qualifier, the Red and White will have a tough time filling the void of those not participating, and it’s absurd that so many NBA players have chosen to skip the qualifiers.
Players such as Kelly Olynyk, and projected top-10 pick Jamal Murray are a few of many who won’t be participating in Manila in a few weeks time. Olynyk is taking time to recover from offseason Shoulder surgery. At the time of the tournament, Murray will be under contract negotiations with the team that will draft him, and will be recovering from the draft process.
The biggest losses are former #1 overall picks Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, Philadelphia 76ers guard Nik Stauskas, forwards Tristan Thompson (Cleveland Cavaliers) Dwight Powell (Dallas Mavericks), and Andrew Nicholson (Orlando Magic), even Robert Sacre (Los Angeles Lakers) will be missing the tournament.
Players such as Powell and Nicholson chose not to participate, as they have the uncertainty to where they’ll be playing next season as they have expiring contracts. Wiggins’ reason however is pretty mind-boggling.
Correcting typo of earlier tweet with Wiggins statement released through agent Bill Duffy Associates pic.twitter.com/Lxt6CSvSr9
— Jerry Zgoda (@JerryZgoda) June 10, 2016
Everyone gets that he wants to workout for this upcoming season. But the thing is that, Wiggins won’t find better practice than at the qualifier playing against sub-par competition for the most part. It’s such a weak excuse, saying when he wants to keep working, when this opportunity of working on his game is laying there for him. Game situation is the best way to get better, and with him declining Wiggins is clearly lying.
Also for the players who are fighting for contracts such as Powell, Nicholson, and even Tristan Thompson last season, also are blowing a terrific opportunity to prove to buyers that they are worth the roster spot and money, by having a strong tournament.
For example, if Tristan Thompson played during the FIBA Qualifiers last summer in Mexico, while his contract negotiations were taking place, the Brampton Ontario native, could’ve easily pumped some more money out of the Cavs with a strong outing, and he would’ve had a contract earlier, and Canada would’ve won the qualifier.
Canadian basketball can’t be taken seriously if we don’t have our best players out there. The fact that Canadian players always talk about how they love and are proud of being canadian, and how they want to grow the game here, makes all of them hypocrites when they elect not to represent the Red and White.