"Who is the best Canadian player in the NBA?"

For a long time, the answer was easy: Andrew Wiggins.

Nowadays, the answer is not so simple with a growing pool of candidates that introduces several additional layers of complexity and nuance. We are, after all, entering a golden age of Canadian basketball with a healthy crop of up-and-coming stars.

On Monday night, Wiggins will take on one of those who has emerged as a threat or even – depending on whom you ask – already taken the crown.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

On the heels of a solid rookie season where he showed signs of becoming a mainstay in the NBA, SGA is now doing far more than showing the occasional flashbulb moment and is squarely in the midst of delivering a breakout year with averages 19.9 points and 5.3 rebounds on 46.4% shooting from the field. 

Just as important, Gilgeous-Alexander has taken a step forward defensively as well. After spending his rookie season learning from one of the NBA's most tenacious defenders in Patrick Beverley, he's now learning from one of the league's most intelligent defenders Chris Paul. The results of learning from the two coupled with his natural length and athletism has allowed SGA to post a defensive rating of 109 which is better than his output as a rookie.