Pascal Siakam was named to his first NBA All-Star Game while also getting the honour to represent the Toronto Raptors as a starter.
Sure there are players who have won an NBA title, Most Improve Player Award and been named a starter at the NBA All-Star Game but how many have only been playing basketball since 2011.
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Siakam had to work for his opportunity starting in the D League (now known as the G League) with the Raptors 905 and had to work his way into the rotation. This was something Nick Nurse said makes his story impressive on many levels.
"“The kid that two years ago started the season as our 11th man and he played in the D league the year before that. That’s a hell of a rise up, if it happens,” Nurse told reporters. “I think again credit to just our organization in general. Picks, scouting, player development, the whole thing. I think all those things kind of work together to make that possible.”"
It took a year with Kawhi Leonard to get Siakam on the map but anybody who saw his emergence as a part of the famous bench mob knew the potential he had at the time. Now he is a player averaging 23.5 points, 3.5 assists and 7.7 rebounds a game in a role where he is now the focal point of the opposing team’s defence.
Seeing his reaction to the news just speaks volumes to how important this moment was for him. While people don’t have the excitement to watch the game, for the players its a significant accomplishment especially to be a starter because not everyone gets that chance.
Michael Grange of Sportsnet got some reaction from Raptors teammates who were all with Siakam the moment he was announced as a starter and it just adds to the moment. Many of these players have witnessed the rise Siakam has made firsthand and it’s only fitting that they get to enjoy this moment with him.
Considering he was a 27th overall pick, nobody should be more proud to see Siakam’s ascension than Masai Ujiri. It’s his belief in development and giving players opportunities that have allowed this team to reach new levels that many doubted would ever be possible,
What did you make of Siakam becoming an all-star? Do you see him getting better as his career continues? Let us know in the comments below.