Canada Expects Wiggins, Ennis, Bennett in 2015 Olympic Qualifying, Targeting Gold in 2020

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NEW YORK -- Canadian men’s national team coach Jay Triano expects Andrew Wiggins, Tyler Ennis, Anthony Bennett and the country’s talented young core of basketball players to compete in Olympic qualifying in 2015.

But he says the big payoff with this group might not come until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“The future’s going to be great,” Triano, an assistant with the Portland Trail Blazers, told SheridanHoops.com on Wednesday following a 94-90 win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. ”But it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s not going to happen at the next Olympics, it might be the following Olympics.”

In the immediate future, Triano expects Wiggins, the likely No. 1 or 2 pick in June’s draft; Ennis, projected as a top-10 pick in 2014; and Bennett, the No. 1 pick in 2013, to help anchor the team during Olympic qualifying in 2015.

Jay_Triano“Yeah, they played in our junior program in the past and they’re in the pipeline to become national team members and seem very keen and interested in it,” he said.

When the four wild cards for this summer’s FIBA World Cup (formerly FIBA World Championships) in Spain were announced Saturday, Canada was left out, meaning it will have to qualify in the summer of 2015 for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

By that point, Wiggins (Kansas), Ennis (Syracuse) and fellow Canadian Nik Stauskas (Michigan) all will likely be in the NBA. All three are projected in the top 20 picks of this year’s draft by DraftExpress.com.

“I just think the young kids that are in college right now, we’re seeing a lot of progress in how they can play,” Triano said. “We got a guy at Michigan, Syracuse, and Andrew obviously. But those are guys who have been a part of our national team program and  and they will be a part of the program as we continue.”

Together with current NBA players Bennett, Andrew Nicholson, Kelly Olynyk, Tristan Boston CelticsThompson and Cory Joseph,, Canada should have a strong core going forward toward 2020 in Tokyo.

Last summer, Wiggins, Ennis, Bennett and Olynyk did not participate at the FIBA Americas Tournament in Venezuela, where Canada failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup in Spain.

Wiggins opted to get acclimated at Kansas prior to his freshman year. Ennis, Wiggins’ longtime running buddy with the CIA Bounce AAU team, played with the Canadian U-19s in Prague. Bennett was dealing with a shoulder injury. And Olynyk opted out.

Without them, Nicholson, Thompson, Joseph and Baylor guard Brady Heslip led the way.

“Last year we had some bigs,” Triano said. “We had Tristan Thompson and Andrew Nicholson and Joel Anthony. We were fine up front, we needed a little help in the backourt and we’re gonna get that now.”

Triano pointed to the likely additions of Ennis – who has guided Syracuse to a 22-0 record and the No. 1 ranking – and Stauskas.

“It would’ve been nice to have Olynyk, especially because he’s a guy that played in the international game more than most of these guys,” Triano added. “He’s been on the national team for years. So that would’ve helped us.”

Bennett, meantime, has struggled mightily since being chosen first overall by the Cavaliers last June. He missed the FIBA Americas Tournament and NBA summer league because of shoulder surgery and has endured a brutal rookie year.

230px-Anthony_Bennett_by_Jeremy_Rincon“He was with us last summer,” Triano said. “He obviously couldn’t play because of his shoulder and he didn’t travel but he was with us in training camp.

“He’s a young kid. I think he got behind in the NBA because he didn’t play in the summer league and it’s tough to get any confidence and get practice reps. But he’s going to be a part of our program in the future as well.”

And Triano believes that future can be extremely bright.

“If they play and play together, I think the potential for our country to do really well is really high,” he said.

RELATED: WHY THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS WILL END UP WITH ANDREW WIGGINS

Adam Zagoria of Zags Blog covers the future stars of the NBA for SheridanHoops.com. His columns appear Saturdays. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamZagoria.

SH Blog: Pacers sign Andrew Bynum; Bennett wouldn’t mind a D-League assignment

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Right now, the whole basketball-watching world is in Bash the Cavs mode. They took Anthony Bennett #1 overall, and for the production he’s given them, they might as well have taken Nerlens Noel. Kyrie Irving, depending on who you want to believe, either can’t wait to get out or just hasn’t made that decision yet. Dion Waiters went at #4 last year and this year he’s been linked with every team needing help at shooting guard. Tristan Thompson changed his shooting hand.

Irving & Deng realizing false hopes and unfulfilled promises for Cleveland Cavaliers

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KyrieYou have to be in a special kind of mess as a franchise to be playing the Knicks and be considered the more dysfunctional team in the matchup. That’s what happened to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday. The Cavs may be in the worst situation among any NBA team, a hot mess and a dumpster fire in a frigid North American winter.

SH Blog: Irving denies wanting out of Cleveland, Anthony and Woodson like small ball

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Kyrie Irving 2Aside from the fact that they are an infinitely disappointing team this season, the Cleveland Cavaliers have some serious problems on their hands. One of them, of course, is the lack of productivity from their first overall pick Anthony Bennett, but we’ll save that issue for another day.

The biggest problem is their supposed franchise point guard Kyrie Irving.

It was recently mentioned in our blog that Irving had noticeably changed – not for the better – since coming back from last season’s All-Star game. Irving was supposed to propel himself into the category of being a part of the upper echelon of point guards with the improvements the team had made in the offseason, but that simply hasn’t been the case. Opposing point guards have lit him and the team’s defense up for much of the season, and his true shooting percentage of 52.1 percent is at an all-time low. 

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The Numbers Say… Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin and Vitor Faverani Star on Nov. 1

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AnthonyDavisSH1

On a night in which 13 games transpired, three players managed to rise above the rest as the stars of the evening: Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans, Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers and Vitor Faverani of the Boston Celtics.

Davis, Faverani and Griffin may not be the first names to come to mind when it comes to elite statistical production, but each of those rising big men found a way to dominate on Day 4 of the 2013-14 NBA regular season. Here’s what they did and why you need to know about it.

Anthony Davis’ Big Night

Since the 2007-08 regular season, only five players have put together games with at least 25 points, 15 rebounds and three blocked shots. Those players are Andrew Bynum, DeMarcus Cousins, Dwight Howard (six times), Zach Randolph and Amar’e Stoudemire.

On Friday, a new name was added to that list: Anthony Davis.

The No. 1 overall selection from the 2012 NBA draft dominated the Orlando Magic with 26 points, 17 rebounds and three blocked shots in 38 minutes of action. Davis became the 10th player since 2000 to achieve the feat while recording at least eight offensive rebounds.

It’s not a landscape-altering statistic, but it tells you just who the most dominant big men in the NBA have been. Cousins and Davis are the only two players on that list without at least one All-Star Game appearance, and that’s mainly due to the short lengths of their respective careers.

After a year in which the advanced statistics said he should’ve been the Rookie of the Year, Davis is back with a vengeance.

During the 2012-13 NBA regular season, Davis led all first-year players in rebounding, blocks, steals, Player Efficiency Rating, Estimated Wins Added and Value Added. Unfortunately, Davis also battled injuries and played for a team that didn’t generate nearly as much attention as Damian Lillard’s Portland Trail Blazers.

Davis appears to be picking up where he left off and elevating his game to a new level. For the first time in his young career, he has posted 20-plus points and 10-plus rebounds in back-to-back games.

The hype was warranted.

Blake Griffin Responds to the CriticsClippers All-Star 2013 Portraits

Entering the 2013-14 regular season, Clippers power forward Blake Griffin was commonly referred to as a player under extraordinary levels of pressure. L.A. has legitimate championship dreams, but until Griffin is able to develop into a more complete player, there will be an undeniable void at Staples Center.

Last night, Griffin responded to the critics by erupting with 20 points, 17 rebounds, six assists and two blocks on 8-of-8 shooting from the free throw line during the Clippers’ 110-101 win at the Sacramento Kings.

This marks the eighth time since the beginning of the 2010-11 regular season—Griffin’s rookie year—that a player has gone off for at least 20 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. The players to achieve that feat are Kevin Durant, Griffin, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Amar’e Stoudemire, Dwyane Wade and Russell Westbrook.

Of all of those superstars, Griffin is the only one who has done it twice. Criticize that.

Vitor Faverani for Rookie of the Year?

Vitor Faverani. Before I tell you what you need to know about him, get the Brazilian rookie’s name embedded in your mind, because he’s going to be a force worth recknoning with..

Now that it’s in there, try this: Faverani did something that no Celtics big man has done since 1996.

Faverani was absolutely brilliant on Friday, going off for 12 points, 18 rebounds, one assist, six blocks and one steal. For an organization that has long been built around superstar big men, that’s a stat line that Celtics fans are used to seeing.

Right? Wrong.

Faverani is the first Celtics player since Dino Radja in 1996 to post at least 15 rebounds and five blocks in the same game. That 17-year layoff is surprising due to the historic nature of Boston’s interior players and the unwritten notion that a rim protector wearing Celtics green will one day end up in the Hall of Fame.

It’s only two games in, but Faverani is averaging 12.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.5 blocks. He could be a Rookie of the Year dark horse.

Notes

  • In 147 total games under Vinny Del Negro, Chris Paul posted at least 25 points and 10 assists in five outings. In three games under head coach Doc Rivers, CP3 has done it twice. Paul went off for 26 points and 10 assists just one night after his legendary 42, 15 and 6 performance.
  • DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors scored 31 points during a loss to the Atlanta Hawks. DeRozan topped 30 in two of his final three games in 2012-13, as well.
  • Kevin Durant scored 13 points in 27 minutes. That’s Durant’s lowest scoring total in a game in which he played at least 27 minutes since Dec. 19, 2009.
  • Zaza Pachulia of the Milwaukee Bucks scored 20 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field and 10-of-10 from the free throw line. It’s the first time he’s scored 20 since April 10, 2007.
  • Tristan Thompson scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Cleveland Cavaliers. No. 1 overall draft choice Anthony Bennett was held scoreless in 13 minutes. It looks like Thompson doesn’t want to let go of his starting job.
  • Gordon Hayward deserves his praise after putting up 18 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and a steal during the Utah Jazz’s 87-84 loss to the Phoenix Suns.

Maxwell Ogden is a regular contributor for Sheridan Hoops. Follow him on Twitter.