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Raptors’ Pascal Siakam reacts to compliments from Nets’ Kevin Durant, Clippers’ Paul George

Pascal Siakam, Kevin Durant, Paul George

Toronto Raptors power forward Pascal Siakam has grown from Most Improved Player last season to his team’s top gun following the departure of 2019 Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. The 25-year-old Cameroonian signed a big extension with Toronto in the offseason and has only stepped up his game in 2019-20, earning the praises of All-Stars Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets and Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Per Siakam’s Reddit AMA on Tuesday:

Reddit user BigZard: What’s the most meaningful compliment you received from an opposing player over the past year? Who was it?

Siakam: Guys that come through LA in the summer – like Kevin Durant or Paul George always say they respect the work and see the improvement. It means a lot when your peers see your improvement.

Siakam has even heard compliments from All-Star big man Al Horford, who left the Boston Celtics in the offseason but signed within the Raptors’ shared Atlantic Division with the Philadelphia 76ers.

“Early in his career I feel like he was still trying to find his place in the NBA,” said Horford, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN. “He looks like the kind of guy that just continues to work and get better, because you can see it on the floor. … It’s a testament to the coaching staff and his work ethic.”

“Spicy P” is averaging a career-best 24.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game this season. He’s also shooting 45.8% from the field and 36.4% from 3-point range.

Siakam has turned from an afterthought into the real deal before the Raptors’ eyes, shaking off the developmental project label for budding star in his own right.