They’ve never done it and may not get a chance to next month but any concerns about any excess pressure on the first Canadian draft pick for the Raptors is unfounded. There has been — and in some circles still is — a school of thought that taking a Canadian-born player in the first round might create undue expectations but Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri and point guard Tyler Ennis of Toronto say it should never be a factor, that the days of worrying about the novelty of that scenario are long, long gone. “I think anybody that’s lucky enough to play in Toronto with the fan support that was shown in the playoffs and the great organization that the Raptors have, I think anybody that gets drafted here is lucky,” Ennis said before the one-and-done teenaged Syracuse guard went through his first team workout at the Air Canada Centre. “To have a Canadian would be great for the city, I think everybody would get behind him and I think it would just be a great opportunity.” That speaks to the skill level of the possible Raptors picks more than anything. No self-respecting NBA general manager would waste a draft pick just to pay homage to or celebrate a player’s nationality. Ujiri said the depth of Canadian talent would make it so that any homegrown product Toronto would take — and it would mark the first time in the franchise’s 20-year history that it would have happened — would be done entirely on merit and any draft pick would have the skills to handle the selection and the attention it would bring. “No concerns at all,” he said. “I think this has been a good process for the Canadian kids, I think the last few years a kid has gone No. 1, kids have played in the league, I don’t think it’s anything new any more for them.
Raptors, Tyler Ennis dismiss concerns about pressure for first Canadian drafted by Toronto
Toronto Star | Jun 4