We do not know when the 2020-21 NBA season will start. We do not know what number of video games will likely be performed, the place they will be performed or who they will be performed in entrance of.

We do have some clues although, after a number of latest experiences steered the league desires to start out a 72-game season round Christmas. A LeBron James-led participant faction would reportedly desire a Jan. 18 starting.

NBA homeowners met on Friday, the place they agreed with gamers to increase the negotiation deadline for one week.

That four-week distinction might decide the Canadian males’s basketball Olympic destiny.

The NBA’s need for a quick turnaround — round two-and-a-half months after the Los Angeles Lakers received the title — reveals a few of the league’s priorities because it grapples with the pandemic.

As a substitute of ready till February or March in hopes of getting followers within the stadium, the league seemingly prefers staying near its common schedule whereas letting the virus decide when crowds can be OK.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver had beforehand said his “best guess” for next season’s start would be January “at least,” however record-low Finals rankings whereas going up towards the NFL might have ignited need to get the league nearer to its common schedule.

Accordingly, the potential of NBA gamers taking part within the Olympic basketball match that begins July 25 has reopened.

Canada, nonetheless, has but to qualify, leaving itself to a last-chance match in Victoria, B.C., starting June 29, the place solely the victor heads to Tokyo.

In an everyday 12 months, that late-June date would come every week or two after the Finals, that means many Canadian NBA hopefuls would have had a month or extra from the top of their season.

In 2021, nonetheless, June 29 might fall proper in the midst of the playoffs, with the Finals wrapping shortly earlier than the Olympics.

And which means there are much more questions for the Canadian males’s basketball staff. Most crucially: who will likely be obtainable for the qualification match?

Contemplating the schedule crunch, there’s nearly no probability Canada boasts a full roster in Victoria. However that additionally means opponents will not have their NBA expertise both — together with Greece’s Giannis Antetokounmpo.

So what may Staff Canada appear like?

Projecting the ‘Dare-to-Dream Staff’

The primary query comes at coach, the place the Raptors’ success will likely be inversely correlated to Nick Nurse’s availability. The additional the Raptors advance, the much less probably Nurse is obtainable to educate in Victoria. In the meantime, lead assistant Nate Bjorkgren now helms the Indiana Pacers; his availability will likely be in query too.

That equation is pretty easy.

It is harder to parse how gamers could be considering on the heels of the NBA season.

For some, that season will likely be ongoing. Happily for Canada, most of its high gamers do not play on high NBA groups. There is only one important concern: Jamal Murray and the Denver Nuggets.

It’s going to be powerful for the Nuggets to return to the West last in a loaded convention, however they’ve confirmed succesful. Even a second-round exit may make Murray query heading straight to Victoria.

Murray, nonetheless, was the primary participant to tweet his dedication to the staff for the Victoria match manner again in November. It is an understatement to say heaps has modified since then, however his willingness to guide the cost, plus his assured contract with Denver by way of 2024-25, portend good issues for his participation.

WATCH | Murray drops 50 in potential elimination recreation:

Kitchener, Ontario native Jamal Murray reached the 50 level mark for the second time within the sequence to guide the Denver Nuggets to a 119-107 victory over the Utah Jazz. 1:14

Behind Murray, the second-most impactful participant can be OKC level guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who adopted Murray’s footsteps in November by committing to the nationwide staff.

Additionally like Murray, Gilgeous-Alexander’s contract standing is about, so barring harm he ought to have little purpose to not attend.

That guard duo is a digital lock to start out, however the different three spots are all up within the air. On the wing, there’s Memphis’ Brandon Clarke and Dillon Brooks, in addition to OKC playoff standout Luguentz Dort and nationwide staff stalwart Kevin Pangos.

Potential beginning bigs embrace veterans Tristan Thompson and Kelly Olynyk, Dallas’ Dwight Powell, who’s recovering from a torn Achilles, and Pangos’ Gonzaga teammate Kyle Wiltjer.

Two NBAers performed on the World Cup staff in China. Cory Joseph would probably be the third guard on this state of affairs, whereas Orlando centre Khem Birch can be in powerful to make the staff.

After which there’s Andrew Wiggins and RJ Barrett. Wiggins famously hasn’t performed for Canada since 2015, however indicated a willingness to fix fences. His star has light since being drafted No. 1 in 2014, however there’s definitely enchantment for him on Canada as a microwave bench scorer.

We’ll know much more about Barrett after subsequent season. If it goes like his rookie marketing campaign, there will not be a lot case for him to be on the staff — regardless of his father being GM.

There must also be consideration given to those that have constantly proven up for Canada, like Melvin Ejim, Brady Heslip and Phil and Thomas Scrubb. Raptors depth gamers Chris Boucher and Oshae Brissett is also choices.

Canada is ranked 21st on the earth by FIBA. It can play No. 7 Greece and No. 28 China within the group part, the place the highest two groups attain the semifinals. The opposite group incorporates No. 43 Uruguay, No. 15 Turkey and No. 9 Czech Republic.

If Canada can gown its full staff, it needs to be favoured to e book its ticket to Tokyo. However that is nonetheless a giant if.

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