Raptors’ Pascal Siakam vows that breakout season is only the beginning for him
When the Toronto Raptors selected Pascal Siakam with the 27th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, it is unlikely that they foresaw the Cameroon native being a major contributor on an NBA championship team.
Siakam had shown some promise in his second year in the league as a lanky defender who is capable of scoring at the rim, but he seemed to be rather one-dimensional due to his inability to score from the perimeter.
However, the 25-year-old reinvented himself in his third season. Not only did Siakam prove to be extremely capable of taking defenders off the dribble and using his length to get to the cup, but he also shot almost 37 percent from beyond the arc. This marked a 15 percent increase from his second year in the league and added a new element to this Raptors team.
In the playoffs, Siakam proved wholly capable of handling the spotlight. Along with Kawhi Leonard, he almost single-handedly carried the offensive load as Toronto battled the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
And in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Siakam erupted for 32 points on 14-of-17 shooting as the Golden State Warriors keyed in on Leonard.
Though he was prone to some inconsistencies, Siakam managed to score 19 points per game while averaging 7.1 rebounds in the playoffs.
Given his massive leap in year three, it seems as though the sky is the limit for Siakam. And he would tend to agree.
Pascal Siakam, asked if he thinks differently of himself as a player after his breakout season: "To be honest with you, I always knew I deserved to be at this level… There's more to come. This is only the beginning for me."
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) June 16, 2019
Should Leonard and possibly Marc Gasol elect to test the waters in free agency, Siakam will undoubtedly be a crucial building block for a Raptors team that hopes to maintain their elite standing in the Eastern Conference.