2014 NBA Draft: Undrafted Canadians Still Hoping To Earn An NBA Paycheck
In the weeks leading up to Thursday night’s NBA Draft, numerous scouting reports and a myriad of mock drafts supported the increasingly popular belief that a wave of Canadian talent consisting of as many as eight players was about to storm the NBA landscape, which in turn would’ve given the country an unprecedented league-wide presence.
However, on a night that Canadian basketball fans had been anticipating for months, only four of the country’s eight hardwood hopefuls went home with a job. But that doesn’t mean that those who were left out on draft day have to wake up from their NBA dreams just yet.
Led by the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ history-making selection of Andrew Wiggins and the Sacramento Kings‘ somewhat surprising decision to take Nik Stauskas with the eighth overall pick, the country’s presence could immediately be felt at the Barclay’s Center on Thursday night. When the evening came to a close however, only Tyler Ennis and Dwight Powell had joined the duo of top-10 Canadians with a guaranteed invitation to training camp.
But these promising young pros now reside in a world where basketball is a business, and while it’s still early, at least two of the four Canadians who went undrafted have already been given a second chance to earn a spot on an NBA roster.
On Friday, it was reported that ”2013-14 Big 12 Player Of The Year” Melvin Ejim had received an invite from the Philadelphia 76ers to play for their summer league affiliate. And while Ejim’s chances of landing a long-term gig may be slim, it’s still an opportunity that could lead to an NBA uniform, which is more than he had immediately following the draft.
Also given another shot to earn himself an NBA paycheck, 7-foot-5 center Sim Bhullar was signed to an actual contract on Friday and will join Stauskas at Sacramento’s training camp.
But so far, neither Jordan Bachynski or Khem Birch know if they’ll even be playing for a summer league team, despite both being ranked within the top 60 prospects prior to the draft by Gary Parrish of CBS Sports.com. At this point, it’s far too early for either Bachynski or Birch to hang up their Jordans, but the early response from teams across the league hasn’t been promising, and both may now have to start exploring other options for the upcoming season.
Ty is an NBA writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @abovethefoldTy.