Team Canada is currently making waves in the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup and has reached the quarterfinals, thanks to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s consistency and Dillon Brooks’ heroics against Spain.
Canada needed a win over the international powerhouse on Sunday to stay alive in the tournament. Gilgeous-Alexander led the way as usual, recording 30 points and seven assists in nearly 37 minutes. But the squad needed all of Brooks’ 22 points and three 3-pointers to pull off the 88-85 victory.
SGA on dillon: “It was bigtime. I would say he’s played his best basketball of the tournament in that last quarter. He came up when we needed him most. That’s what big time players do. That’s what leaders do. They lead by example.”
— Holly MacKenzie (@stackmack) September 3, 2023
The Canadians also have another reason to celebrate because their national squad has secured a berth in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, marking the first time the U.S.’s northern neighbor will appear in the men’s basketball event since 2000.
Oh Canada…#Paris2024 is calling!
Canada are returning to the Olympics in men's basketball for the first time since Sydney 2000 after finishing as one of America's top two teams at the FIBA World Cup!#RoadToParis2024 | #FIBAWC pic.twitter.com/UvTb3DT72O
— The Olympic Games (@Olympics) September 3, 2023
Of course, Canada is likely still focused on the task at hand. Winning the World Cup might be a tough challenge but is definitely attainable for a squad that features several NBA players. Aside from Gilgeous-Alexander and Brooks, the roster also has RJ Barrett, Kelly Olynyk, Dwight Powell, Lu Dort and Nickeil Alexander-Walker.
Interestingly, Brooks seems to have taken on a leadership role with the team, a quality that he will have to bring to a Rockets organization that has a core group of promising but young players.
Some of Houston’s best hoopers include Jalen Green, Kevin Porter Jr., Jabari Smith Jr., Alperen Sengun and Amen Thompson. A common denominator among those players is that they are all 23 or younger. If Brooks can help his new teammates realize their potential, the Rockets may become a scary matchup for any opponent.
The University of Oregon product spent his first six seasons in the league with the Memphis Grizzlies. Even though he has been involved in some controversies in recent years, he still has shown his value as a rugged defender and floor spacer. Only time will tell if he can be a positive asset to Houston.