Attention, Knicks fans: Please rise for your new national anthem.
That’s right: For the next week, P&T is going Canadian in honor of our favorite young Canuck, RJ Barrett. Team Canada is vying for a berth in the Tokyo Olympics this week in a six-team qualifying tournament being held in Victoria, Canada. Here is the roster:
Canada is well-represented in the NBA these days, but as you can see, this roster in pretty thin, particularly in the frontcourt. Big men like Kelly Olynyk, Tristan Thompson and Chris Boucher are all sitting out for various reasons. Also, their best point guard, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is out. Some players are injured, while others must simply not have the same level of patriotism RJ does.
This roster’s strength appears to be on the wing, with RJ, Andrew Wiggins and Luguentz Dort. Can the Canadians play all three of them in the same lineup? Perhaps. No matter what they do, they had damn well better start RJ!
Canada will play Greece (without Giannis Antetokounmpo, of course) at 7:05 EST on Tuesday and China at the same time on Wednesday. I heard somewhere that it might be shown on ESPN+. Should they advance, the semifinal is on Saturday and the final is on Sunday. Turkey, Czechia and Uruguay round out the group. The winner will advance to the Olympics, while the rest go home.
Let’s get it, RJ! Gooooooooo Canada!