1. CANADIANS IN NBA DRAFT: The positive momentum keeps building for Canadian hoops. The country set an NBA draft record with six players drafted overall Thursday night, including four in the first round. It’s amazing to think that both of those marks are an all-time best for a non-U.S. country at the draft. The best is yet to come as the game continues to explode.
2. LUGUENTZ DORT (OKC): After surprisingly not being drafted at all last night, he signed a free-agent deal with the Thunder. Considering that OKC has a desperate need for a stronger bench, this is an ideal opportunity for the Montreal native. Dort has big-time athleticism but must improve his shooting mechanics.
3. NEW ORLEANS PELICANS: This franchise hit the jackpot when they got Zion Williamson, then did a sound job landing Jaxson Hayes and Canadian Nickeil Alexander-Walker. I like all three players. Couple that with the fact that they have more than $30 million in cap space and things are looking up. It’s a job well done by David Griffin and new GM Trajan Langdon.
4. AL HORFORD (Celtics): Surprising news that he’s opting out and going the free agent route. I’ve been a huge fan of his game in his time with the Hawks and Celtics. I really respect what he’s accomplished as a pro. Horford plays the game the right way on both ends and will be a valuable addition to any team.
5. NIKOLA VUCEVIC (Magic): This unrestricted free agent will garner significant attention. He had an excellent walk year in Orlando, and when you consider you’re going to have a guy who averaged 20.8 points and 12 rebounds along with 3.8 assists per game, teams will rightfully be all over him. Vucevic had a tough first-round series versus Toronto and Marc Gasol but his value is still at a high level. There will be plenty of suitors.