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Canadian 2020 Power Ranking

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Canadian 2020 Power Ranking 

Post#1 » by Hair Canada » Wed Oct 14, 2020 1:39 am

This has become somewhat of a tradition now. I usually put on this annual power ranking in the summer. But this year, with COVID and the bubble, I decided to wait till the NBA season was over. And that's probably a good thing looking at the way some Canadians have performed in the playoffs.

Much like last year, this is a ranking of my top 50. In parentheses, you'll find my ranking from last year. And this year I decided to also add a short write-up for the top 20 to make my logic explicit.

Two ground rules before starting:

* First, I do my ranking with an eye to the Canadian National Team. That is, I'm thinking who I would most like to see on the team if I had my choice. This means that I'm also considering positions to an extent and also fit with others.
* Second, there are no high school players on this list. For me, it's just too early to try to assess how they might perform against adult competition. So you can save your "where's Elijah Fisher" outcries (I would not have him here in any case). You could argue that I should apply the same rule to college players, especially those who still haven't played a game in the NCAA. That's fair, but I decided to still include a few of these potential up and coming, though not before #40 on the list.


As always, feel free to disagree!


1 (1) Jamal Murray. During the season, I've encountered quite a few commentators who believed that SGA is already a better player than Jamal, with some even thinking that this is true for Dillon Brooks, due to his defense. Well, this playoff has put all of this talk to bed. Murray at his best is a superstar, no less, and a top-15 player in this league. the defense is less relevant in these cases, as offense is just more important in this league. But for what it's worth, I think Murray is also a somewhat undervalued defender. In a good defensive scheme and when fully wired, he is actually a decent defender. Right now, he's on a level of his own and clearly the most important CNT player.
2 (2) Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Despite his breakout year, I was somewhat disappointed with how things ended up for SGA in the postseason. His offense is good but the creation is still kind of limited against playoff defenses. And his defense has also been a bit disappointing in terms of both effort and the ability to stay with stronger or quicker guards. Let's hope he makes another leap in his third year and becomes an all-star.
3 (3) Kelly Olynyk. There's a clear drop between the two players above (All-Star-level players) and the rest of the pack. From here on, it becomes a matter of taste. And for me, Olynyk is still the favorite from the point of view of team Canada. His shooting, fluidity, great reading of the game, and the overall fit for international play at his position are all indispensable
4 (7) Brandon Clarke. You got to love what Clarke showed in his rookie year. Many of us (shoutout to mojo who was the first) believed that he was under-drafted and were clearly right about it. Some might see this as premature, especially since the defensive potential is yet to be fully realized. But I'm a believer in that crazy athleticism/efficiency/energy that he brings to the table and I think it will translate to any setting. An improved version of Dwight Powell.
5 (6) Dillon Brooks. A great season for Dillon, particularly the first couple of months till he got his contract. Arguably the weaker link on my dream-team starting five, but I still like him. Not the most efficient, but he plays with heart, is a good defender, and when he heats up he can score in bunches. Hopefully, will be able to adapt to a secondary role if he ever teams up with Jamal and SGA.
6 (24) Luguentz Dort. What a breakout year for Lu, particularly in the playoffs! Already the best Canadian defender out there. Right now, he's still a bit of a liability on offense, but can be a terrific energy player off the bench for the Canadian dream-team, or even inserted into the starting-5 to target the opposing team's best creator. Now, if he can just get that outside shooting to fall at over 35% (I think that's possible), we've got ourselves a Canadian Marcus Smart.
7 (13) Andrew Wiggins. I was pleasantly surprised with Wiggins this year (hence the jump in ranking), especially given how low my expectations have become. In particular, I thought he defended better and shared the ball much better. Both of these could be very useful traits if he stays in the Bay area this year, which could be a perfect setting for him to save his career playing in a different role. I still doubt if he ever shows up again for team Canada, but if he does, he has a spot in my roster. And I'd be happy to rank him higher next year if he can be a contributing part in a winning NBA team
8 (12) Tristan Thompson. TT also had a good year, showing that his career is not yet sinking. He had the best scoring season of his career, with a double-double average, and even showed he can shoot the occasional three-pointer. He's only 29 and might still have a couple of years as a good performer, depending also on the team he ends up with. Can still contribute to team Canada and has suited up whenever he was able to in previous years.
9 (5) Cory Joseph. Captain Canada had a decent season with Sacramento. At this point in his career, it's clear what you get out of him -- a good defender, a solid PG, but not a good scorer (pretty weak shooting). For team Canada, he's been an integral part and the most loyal player. Jamal and Shai are clearly better, but he can be an important piece from the bench
10 (8) RJ Barrett. If Clarke had an excellent rookie season, RJ's was quite a disappointment. He can score, but not efficiently and I also thought he would be a better playmaker with NBA spacing. But he's only 20 and has lots of room to grow and the work ethic to improve. I haven't lost faith that he can be one of our best 5 players if and when he figures things out.
11 (4) Dwight Powell. I still love DP's game and personality, so dropping him a few spots on my ranking is not a knock on him. It's more a matter of how much other players have grown. But it's also the realistic understanding that he might not come back the same player from this terrible Achilles injury, which has historically been devastating for some players' careers (most notably Demarcus Cousins). Even if DP does come back to his pre-injury form, it's not likely to happen this year.
12 (11) Khem Birch. Stuck in a horrible contract in Orlando (low paid and behind one of the few all-star centers in this league), Birch is still trying to make the most out of things. Just think how a team like Boston might have been able to use him…
13 (14) Kevin Pangos. The first non-NBA player on this ranking, Pangos would have been lower on my list until a couple of weeks ago, as he missed the last year with injuries and things didn't quite click for him with Barcelona. But he's come back with a new team, which seems like a better fit, and when he's doing his thing he's one of our best PGs. Would really want to see him with the team and he might be our most important player if the NBA guys can't come.
14 (18) Chris Boucher. With Gasol probably going back to Europe, would this be the year where Boucher finally gets the opportunity to play real consistent minutes? He's not a starting player in this league, but when he had a chance this year as the backup center for about a month, he showed that he's more than capable to fulfil this role.
15 (10) Nickeil Alexander-Walker. Another disappointing rookie season, especially given what NAW has shown in the summer league. I thought he had a real chance of becoming a strong rotation player, but he wasn't able to cease it, showing inconsistency and poor shooting. Still, I remain a believer that he can figure things out and become a good NBA lead guard. The game needs to slow down for him and if he can still get a bit stronger it would certainly help. There've been rumors that he grew an inch during quarantine, so maybe he's not quite done with his physical development.
16 (9) Trey Lyles. Missing the bubble with an injury might have cost Lyles a nice contract. With no LA around, I thought he had a chance to really show up and turn some heads. Lyles was probably one of the worst starters in the NBA last season. He's just not good enough to be a starter. Still, a useful tool I think in international competition with his long frame. A decent rebounder and a stretch four when the shot is falling. Can even put the ball on the floor, so much of it is a matter of confidence.
17 (16) Kyle Wiltjer. The best offensive player we have outside of the NBA (and better at offense than even some of our NBA players). But he's also a really bad defender, keeping him away from the highest levels of basketball not only in the NBA but also in Europe. Still, he can be really useful in a limited role for team Canada.
18 (15) Melvin Ejim. Always loved this player. Not a star by any means, but a glue-guy who plays with heart and really loves to play for team Canada whenever he can. Would hold a spot for him on my dream team, which surely will never have all of the NBA players.
19 (17) Phil Scrubb. Another CNT-faithful, Scrubb remains very solid, though never spectacular. Another guy I would love to have on a balanced team that includes a few NBA guys.
20 (Not ranked) Michael Mulder. Not ranking Mulder last year was actually a clear oversight that I gladly admit. His stats with the Warriors (11 points per game), just before the season was cut short, are misleading. Golden State was probably worse than your average Euroleague team. Still, I think he's shown a promising shooting touch in these games and in the G-league and the ability to perhaps find a spot as an end-of-the-bench rotation player if he can continue dropping his outside shots.
21 (36) Dayshawn Pierre.
22 (21) Andrew Nicholson.
23 (32) Tyler Ennis.
24 (23) Maryal Shayok.
25 (28) Dylan Ennis.
26 (25) Naz Mitrou-Long.
27 (Not ranked) Kenny Chery.
28 (22) Oshae Brissett.
29 (26) Ignas Brazdeikis.
30 (20) Mifiondu Kabengele.
31 (Not ranked) Nate Darling.
32 (19) Nik Stauskas.
33 (37) Kassius Robertson.
34 (29) Kaza Kajami-Keane.
35 (31) Aaron Best.
36 (42) Aaron Durnekamp.
37 (Not ranked) Isiaha Mike.
38 (33) Thomas Scrubb.
39 (Not ranked) Marcus Carr.
40 (Not ranked) Bennedict Mathurin.
41 (39) Owen Klassen.
42 (27) Andrew Nembhard.
43 (40) Duane Notice.
44 (41) Conor Morgan.
45 (43) Trae Bell-Haynes.
46 (Not ranked) Josh Primo.
47 (48) Karim Mane.
48 (Not ranked) Olivier Maxence-Prosper.
49 (46) Simi Shi-tu.
50 (44) Marc Trasolini.
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Re: Canadian 2020 Power Ranking 

Post#2 » by Tor_Raps » Wed Oct 14, 2020 2:09 am

Dort is far too high. I'd put him 11th on this list.

Also, Heslip belongs somewhere in there. I think hes still Canada's best pure 3 point shooter.
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Re: Canadian 2020 Power Ranking 

Post#3 » by 13th Man » Wed Oct 14, 2020 2:12 am

Man, you know your Canadian basketball. What happened to Nembhard, I thought he was a good prospect and ranked higher than that.
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Re: Canadian 2020 Power Ranking 

Post#4 » by onions17 » Wed Oct 14, 2020 2:24 am

Tor_Raps wrote:Dort is far too high. I'd put him 11th on this list. Also, Heslip belongs somewhere in there.


Pretty sure Heislip retired.
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Q00 wrote:When scoring over 100 pts and giving up under 100 pts, they are 11-0

Clearly defense is the difference between winning and losing for this team.
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Re: Canadian 2020 Power Ranking 

Post#5 » by Tor_Raps » Wed Oct 14, 2020 2:27 am

onions17 wrote:
Tor_Raps wrote:Dort is far too high. I'd put him 11th on this list. Also, Heslip belongs somewhere in there.


Pretty sure Heislip retired.


Looks like you're right. Surprised that he retired at the age of 29.

https://torontosun.com/sports/basketball/heslip-29-walks-away-from-basketball-ready-to-take-on-the-business-world
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Re: Canadian 2020 Power Ranking 

Post#6 » by Badonkadonk » Wed Oct 14, 2020 2:42 am

Tor_Raps wrote:Dort is far too high. I'd put him 11th on this list.

He's the best defender on the list and has a chance to be elite on that end of the court.

If this were an offense-only list, I'd agree with you. Such as it is, I think you can make the argument for top-5.
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Re: Canadian 2020 Power Ranking 

Post#7 » by Tor_Raps » Wed Oct 14, 2020 2:57 am

Badonkadonk wrote:
Tor_Raps wrote:Dort is far too high. I'd put him 11th on this list.

He's the best defender on the list and has a chance to be elite on that end of the court.

If this were an offense-only list, I'd agree with you. Such as it is, I think you can make the argument for top-5.


I loved what he did in the playoffs but its just too early to put him that high. Dude was an offensive liability all season with the exception of one game, which seems to be clouding a lot of peoples judgment.

Not saying he can't make the list in the future but hes not there yet imo
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Re: Canadian 2020 Power Ranking 

Post#8 » by Hair Canada » Wed Oct 14, 2020 12:26 pm

13th Man wrote:Man, you know your Canadian basketball. What happened to Nembhard, I thought he was a good prospect and ranked higher than that.


Thanks. Nembhard didn't show much progress during his second year at Florida. For me, he's always been a borderline NBA player because of his mediocre athleticism and speed, combined with a relatively weak body. So he had to develop an elite shooting touch to unlock his potential (fantastic pace and vision) and he hasn't done that so far. Still haven't lost hope in him and maybe now with the move to Gonzaga, the established Canadian breeding ground, he'll be able to turn things around. But right now, there are other PGs I would take over him.
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Re: Canadian 2020 Power Ranking 

Post#9 » by Hair Canada » Wed Oct 14, 2020 12:31 pm

Tor_Raps wrote:Dort is far too high. I'd put him 11th on this list.

Also, Heslip belongs somewhere in there. I think hes still Canada's best pure 3 point shooter.


That's a fair take on Dort (Heslip indeed retired). But I'll reiterate what I said at the top. These are not the players I would necessarily take in this order if I'm starting a team. I have an eye here to the CNT and so fit and what a player brings to the table alongside others played a big role for me. If you have Jamal and SGA (or Pangos), then you've got the offense pretty much covered and someone like Dort taking on the opponent's best creator can be really invaluable. In addition, this ranking is considering not only what they did last year but also how I think they might look in the coming year (hence the lower ranking for someone like DP), so I expect Dort to improve his offense as a second-year player. We'll see. If he doesn't he might be ranked lower next year.
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Re: Canadian 2020 Power Ranking 

Post#10 » by plainballing » Wed Oct 14, 2020 12:59 pm

I feel ashamed of myself...I don't even know half of the list...now I need a Tims to make me feel better...

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Re: Canadian 2020 Power Ranking 

Post#11 » by Psubs » Wed Oct 14, 2020 4:01 pm

I think Kabengele is pretty important to develop behind Clarke.
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Re: Canadian 2020 Power Ranking 

Post#12 » by ruckus » Wed Oct 14, 2020 4:52 pm

Wow. Impressive knowledge on Canadian bball OP!
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Re: Canadian 2020 Power Ranking 

Post#13 » by mojo13 » Wed Oct 14, 2020 4:58 pm

Hair - you know I love pretty much everything you post here and I do understand you are looking at this from a certain perspective as described in your pre-amble. I am pretty much on board with your top 14, nevertheless I'm gonna lay down my thoughts starting with a few omissions and what I see as some misrankings (to me at least).

Notable Omissions
Dejan Kravic is one of the top 4 or 5 Canadians in Europe. Yes is has Serb citizenship as well, but if you are going to rank Iggy brazdeikis who outright declared he wants to play for Lithuania then Kravic needs to be here. Same goes for Naz Long who is rumored to be considering playing for Greece. Kravic would be in the late 20s early 30s for me.

Johnny Berkmanskel - also unranked. Dude is playing on a EuroCup squad and has a very good resume to boot. He'd be an early 30s rank for me. He is clearly better than Best, Keane, Trae Bell Haynes, Duane Notice (shouldn't be ranked IMO). Johnny B might be better than Phil Scrubb (or at least his current pro resume is saying so).

Mikyle McIntosh - not quite an oversight as Johnny B and Kravic, but his a good player in a good league (ACB) and better than the NCAA players, Best, Notice, Keane etc. High 30s / Early 40s.

Oliver Hanlan is likely better than a number of guys in the 40s (and all NCAA players), but I'm not a huge fan of his game.

Kyle Alexander with a year experience in the G is likely better than most of the NCAA players and perhaps someone like Shittu.

Rankings
Andrew Wiggins / Dillon Brooks - I'd take Wiggins in a heartbeat over Brooks. Brooks has some real bball Iq issues with some really bad shot selection. Brooks was starting to remind more me of a JR Smith type the more I watch him. I'd take him in a second if Murray/SGA are NOT there but I sure don't want his hero-ball taking shots from them. Despite Wiggins bad rap, he is a better bball player than Wiggins probably by a wide margin. He is unquestionably better than Dort.

Kenny Chery / Phil Scrubb - Kenny is ranked to low relative to Phil Scrubb. Kenny has the better resume in Europe currently. Better quality club, league and is putting up better stats. Phil seems to fallen off the last couple years in quality of club/leagues he is playing in. Kenny seems fairly ranked, but Phil is way to high. Both Tyler and Dylan Ennis are better than Phil Scrubb - so is Stauskas. Phil is a late 20s / early 30s ranking for me.

Tommy Scrubb - is very underranked. He is a better player than Phil in my opinion. He is not flashy with high scoring out put, but he has been a very important piece for his Euro clubs and keeps moving up in league/club quality. His defense is excellent and is way better than Best and Keane, better than Robertson. Early 30s guys.

I think the proper order of these guys right now is Andrew Nicholson > Dyshawn Pierre > Melvin Ejim > Kyle Wiltjer
Nicholson is playing well in China and does everything Wiltjer does but better, while giving bad defense rather than horrifying defense. Ejim seemed to have a bad season last year and was run out of Unicaja (like Wiltjer before him) but seems to have found his footing this season with Buducnost (ABA/EuroCup) playing really well to start the season (and I believe is playing SF full time). Pierre is the Canadian star of Europe right now (with Pangos), moving up the food chain big time with Fener (EuroLeague) and has looked quite exciting to start the season (excellent defense and rebounding as a SF) despite the offense not being there yet. Wiltjer is on the worst club and worst league (FIBA BCL) of the four and has already been run off a couple clubs in Europe due to his limitations.

Aaron Doornekamp is getting up there in age but he is a far better player with a way better resume than many guys in front of him (Kaza Keane, Aaron Best). Conor Morgan for that matter too - especially any NCAA player.

The NCAA players are ranked too high - Darling and Mike have proven nothing yet. The BBL club Mike signed with isn't that good and he isnt the same player as Thomas Scrubb yet. Marcus Carr shouldn't be ranked IMO. And I'm not sure I'd rank any of the current NCAA players. A guy like Karim Mane is not very good today and shouldnt sniff the SMNT - he has potential but we have no idea yet what he'll become. There is a long list of unranked players I'd have before him (real pros, with real FIBA experience (having a few years of pro FIBA club ball experience is just too valuable). - but I understand you are putting a "future potential qualifier" in your rankings.


All my just opinions, of course. Great work here - I always love to see this and dig into the debate.


Edit: A couple other omissions worth noting. Who knows what's up with Justin Jackson and Anthony Bennett (and thus why they were left off), but if either was healthy and actively playing they might still be in the mix I think?
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Re: Canadian 2020 Power Ranking 

Post#14 » by LoveMyRaps » Wed Oct 14, 2020 6:06 pm

Tor_Raps wrote:
Badonkadonk wrote:
Tor_Raps wrote:Dort is far too high. I'd put him 11th on this list.

He's the best defender on the list and has a chance to be elite on that end of the court.

If this were an offense-only list, I'd agree with you. Such as it is, I think you can make the argument for top-5.


I loved what he did in the playoffs but its just too early to put him that high. Dude was an offensive liability all season with the exception of one game, which seems to be clouding a lot of peoples judgment.

Not saying he can't make the list in the future but hes not there yet imo


These are power rankings. Thompson, Joseph, and Wiggins were sitting at home while Dort was busy cooking up a 30 piece in a game 7 against one of the best teams in the league. Of course I think Wiggins is a better player than Dort, but power rankings are always based on recent events.
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Re: Canadian 2020 Power Ranking 

Post#15 » by Danny1616 » Wed Oct 14, 2020 6:31 pm

Pretty crazy how Wiggins was widely touted as the new King of Canada basketball and a potential superstar, but 5 years later and SGA and Murray have taken that reign, and nobody cares about Wiggins.
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Re: Canadian 2020 Power Ranking 

Post#16 » by Hair Canada » Thu Oct 15, 2020 12:22 am

mojo, thanks for the feedback. Always great to get your take on things. And I can probably buy into much of what you're suggesting here.

For me, at least some of it is a matter of taste. For example, I get why you and others would see Wiggins as a better bb player than Brooks. After all, he has far superior tools and Brooks does have the problems you've mentioned. But two things here -- one, as I said I love the energy and hustle that Brooks brings to the table. His approach, when compared to the somewhat apathetic manner of Wiggins might be infectious and seems to suit a national team. Until proven otherwise, he's also a better defender than Wiggins and also a better shooter. And in a group with Jamal and Shai to provide the offense, I think he might be a better complement (and that's speculation, but maybe also more willing to accept a secondary role). Also, Brooks showed this year that when he's good, his team almost always wins. Still haven't seen that from Wiggins... All that said, I can't really argue with anyone who prefers Wiggins as the starting SF in our dream team.

As for Kravic, I've actually watched him in the Champions League final 8 lately and he really looked great (thin, but very savvy and tough). So why not rank him? It's not just that he's Serbian first, it also seems that he's very unlikely to ever play for the CNT. So I guess I was less likely to rank players who seemed irrelevant to the team. The same probably goes for Doornekamp and his low ranking here. As for Iggy, guess I still haven't given up on him, both as an NBA player and as a potential team Canada player one day.

Related to that, I'd say that players who are loyal to team Canada and/or played well for the team in the past also got a bit of a bump here. That's the case, for example for Phil Scrubb or for Wiltjer, who was a better contributer to the team than someone like Andrew Nicholson (for Nicholson I'm also particularly suspicious of the inflated stats in the Chinese league). Kyle brings a very particular skill (shooting) that can be very useful for short spurts. So I guess what I'm saying is that I'm probably with you on the quality of the players, but my ranking also involves a small degree of sentimentality and potential fit (which I might be wrong about).

As for the younger guys (Darling, Carr, and even more guys like Mane or Primo), I can't really argue with your logic. All of them are unproven qualities and I'm basing these rankings more on my hopes (fantasies?) of how they are going to look like next year in their respective teams than on any concrete evidence. I didn't put any of them in my top 30 (most are in the 40s), and I agree that none is likely to be on the CNT, unless they're looking for them to get some experience (like they did in the past with Barrett and SGA). Obviously at least some of them will disappoint and won't be here next year (just like guys like Simi or AJ Lawson did in previous years).

Guys like Johnny B, Hanlan, and McIntosh ended up just outside my top 50. I tend to agree with you that the first might deserve to be in. For the others, it was a toss, but as I said I wanted to give a bit of room to some new blood toward the end of the list with higher potential but not yet prove over older guys with a clear ceiling who might be slightly better at this point.

Finally, both Benett and Jackson are out because they haven't really played for at least a year (Jackson is closing on 3 I think) and I'm not even sure where their career is these days.

There's probably more to say, but we'll leave that for another post. Thanks again for the feedback. Always great to exchange thoughts on this.
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Re: Canadian 2020 Power Ranking 

Post#17 » by Hair Canada » Sat Oct 17, 2020 12:57 am

One guy I didn't rank here (he was a next-10 for me) is Addison Patterson. Arguably, the most talented player in the somewhat underwhelming class of 2019. Didn't have a great year at Oregon and now he decided to transfer. Not sure yet where, but this means we won't get to see him next year in college. Might not be a bad decision though. Oregon wasn't a very good fit for him.
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Re: Canadian 2020 Power Ranking 

Post#18 » by aminiaturebuddha » Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:21 am

Hair, I'm curious where you would put AJ Lawson. I know he's been wildly inconsistent, but I'm somewhat surprised that you have guys like Mathurin and Primo ahead of him, neither of whom has proved a thing at the NCAA level yet.

Assuming that you might have him in the 40-50 range, what do you think his odds are of becoming a solid professional player somewhere? Even though it seems like he's been around for a while, he's still only 20, and might have time to fill in some of the gaps in his game with further development.
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Re: Canadian 2020 Power Ranking 

Post#19 » by bozothepope » Sat Oct 17, 2020 4:17 am

Any thoughts on Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe? I'm excited to see what he can do at Oklahoma St with Cade Cunningham.
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Re: Canadian 2020 Power Ranking 

Post#20 » by mojo13 » Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:04 pm

bozothepope wrote:Any thoughts on Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe? I'm excited to see what he can do at Oklahoma St with Cade Cunningham.



Hair - when the time is right we hope you do another prospect ranking of all the guys in the NCAA or entering and where they are on the ladder for NBA/pro prospects. Seems like another wave is entering and I’m not sure who is who on the pecking order.

Is Caleb Houston the top prospect?
I did see him in someone’s 2021 lottery mocks.

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