There is no doubt a bond between the two players from Canada, as Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph have been playing basketball together ever since they met in the AAU Grassroots Canada basketball program for kids around the Toronto, Canada area.
Currently, Joseph is projected by owners to go late in the first round, or high in the second, and Thompson is a high projection, anywhere in the top 15 and as high as No. 4. After Thompson left St. Benedict's Prep in Newark following a quarrel with coach Dan Hurley, he played five games with Joseph at Findlay Prep and won the coveted national title under coach Michael Peck.
They went on to play at the University of Texas, where the two freshmen Longhorns displayed their chemistry together by guiding the team to an impressive record with the likes of Jordan Hamilton. They showed a knack for playing alongside one another in all levels of competition throughout their career, including the 2009 FIBA Under-19 Tournament.
Former Coach Peck even remarked to The Austin American Statesman, “They can read each other's mind.” At the end of their college career, the 6’3" Joseph averaged 10.4 points per game, and shot 41 percent from three-point range, while Thompson averaged 13.1 points per game, while grabbing 7.8 rebounds.
So which teams could obtain the two players from north of the border?
Realistically, unless trades are made for draft picks, there are three teams that can acquire the two Canadians. The Detroit Pistons, who have picks No. 8 in the first round and No. 3 in the second round; the Charlotte Bobcats, who have picks No. 9 and 19 in Round 1; and the Houston Rockets, who have picks No. 14 and 23, both in Round 1.
The Detroit Pistons are the team I believe have the best chance, and should draft the two Canadians. Coming off a terrible season (30-52) that saw the team chemistry fall apart, especially involving coach John Kuester and Richard Hamilton, the Pistons need a fresh start. What better way than to draft two players who already have a history together, and who are both very young?
If Charlie Villanueva can play up to his potential, then this team has a solid future, with Stuckey and Monroe. If they draft the two, then Bynum or Gordon could be used as trade bait in a package deal involving Hamilton, which would completely revamp the roster and bring the city of Detroit something to cheer about for the first time since 2004. The only hope will be that Joseph will fall to the second round.
The Charlotte Bobcats have a very good shot at acquiring the two, but the question would revolve around if they should draft Joseph so high, in the No. 19 spot. The only upside to picking Joseph so high would be the fact that he and Thompson would unite once again.
Although Joseph’s stock has risen considerably in the NBA combine, he would definitely be the backup point guard behind former Longhorn, D.J. Augustin. They might look to draft another Texas Longhorn, Jordan Hamilton. The team also badly needs a solid centre, so the odds of them drafting the two Canadians are not high, but fully likely.
Lastly, are the Houston Rockets who must hope that Thompson can fall to the No. 14 spot, something that most likely will not happen, but at the time is possible. The team itself is in need of a centre, which is why I don’t think they will end up picking the two, unless they draft Thompson with the 14th pick and Joseph with the 38th pick.
Who knows, maybe they can come by all three Texas Longhorns in the draft. They also have Dragic who is a solid PG, but need to add depth to the roster. They have the picks to make the move, but it would be in their best interest to draft a centre.
The combo of Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph would help any team looking to rebuild, but given the draft order and team needs, I would say the only way they play together in the NBA next year is if one of these three teams decides to make a move.