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2023 FIBA World Cup: Canada’s standout group stage performers

The group stage for the FIBA World Cup is complete and Team Canada has arguably been the most impressive in the tournament so far.

They finished their group stage games with a record of 3-0, beating France 95-65, Lebanon 128-73, and Latvia 101-75 and are now +400 to win the FIBA World Cup.

The Canadians averaged 108 points per game during the group stage, while allowing an average of just 71 points per game. They won their group stage games by 37 points on average.

Below we highlight some of the top performers for Team Canada through their dominant group stage performances, all of whom feature in the NBA.

1. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City Thunder)

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has to be considered Team Canada’s best player at this point through the tournament, living up to the expectations placed on him when Jamal Murray decided not to play and instead rest from his NBA Championship campaign.

SGA is averaging 22 points per game, posting 27-point games against both France and Latvia. SGA had just 12 points in the game against Lebanon, but part of the reason for this is that he took a total of just eight shots. 

SGA has not only been scoring at an elite level, he also has been extremely efficient from the field.

He is shooting 24 of 44 from the field through the first three games, which is 54.5% from the field. 

In addition to that, he is averaging 8.0 rebounds per game and 5.7 assists per game.

2. Kelly Olynyk (Utah Jazz)

Kelly Olynyk is another one of the top performers for Team Canada in the group stage.

Olynyk is averaging 15 points per game, which is highlighted by an 18-point game against France. He also posted a 12-point game against Lebanon and a 15-point game against Latvia.

Similar to SGA, Olynyk has been efficient from the field. He is shooting 53.5% on 15 of 28.

In addition to his scoring, Olynyk is averaging 6.0 rebounds per game and 3.7 assists per game. 

3. R.J. Barrett (New York Knicks)

New York Knicks forward R.J. Barrett stood out for Team Canada, and he is averaging 14.7 points per game through the group stage.

His best performance came against Latvia, where he scored 22 points to lead his team. His other performances were a 17-point game against Lebanon and a 5-point game against France.

Barrett started slowly in that game against France, going 1 of 10 from the field and 1 of 7 from three-point range. He made up for it by going a combined 16 of 26 from the field and 7 of 12 from three-point range against Lebanon and Latvia.

Overall, he is shooting 47.2% from the field and 42% from three-point range. Barrett is also averaging 4.0 rebounds per game and 3.0 assists per game.

4. Nickeil Alexander-Walker (New Orleans Pelicans)

The final standout performer for Team Canada so far is Nickeil Alexander-Walker.

He is averaging 12.7 points per game, with his top performance being a 14-point outing against Latvia. Alexander-Walker has been Team Canada’s three-point specialist so far, shooting 12 of 26 from three-point range (46.1%).

Overall, he is shooting 43.3% from the field on 13 of 30 shooting.

Alexander-Walker is also averaging 2.7 rebounds per game and 3.7 assists per game, making him a valuable bench player in this tournament.

Canada's outlook

With Team Canada having dominated every team they have faced so far and they look poised to make a real run at winning the FIBA World Cup.

They are a balanced team, have a star player in SGA, and have plenty of depth to be able to compete with the top teams like Team USA.

A potential matchup with Team USA would probably have the Americans favoured, but with how Team Canada is performing right now, a potential upset could be brewing.

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