Toronto Raptors: Pascal Siakam is entering critical part of development

Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors reacts to a Raptor foul during a 113-104 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Cente. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors reacts to a Raptor foul during a 113-104 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Cente. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Pascal Siakam
Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors dunks the ball. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

Will Siakam Get Any Better?

It’s obviously impossible to give a definitive answer to this question, but I’m going to lean towards yes for a few reasons. Firstly, he has improved every single season he has been in the league, which is a fantastic sign for a player that would be defined at one point as incredibly raw.

You could also argue that the things he needs to improve on, he’s already consistently getting better at. His work with Rico Hines during the offseason has done wonders for his game year-over-year. Siakam’s field goal and three-point percentages did decrease this season, but that’s also because he took over six additional field goal attempts and three more three-point shots per game.

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Siakam’s usage rate also jumped seven percent, but his true shooting percentage returned back to league average after being in the sixty percent range last season.

On top of that, as the number one option, he’s getting the other team’s best defender and the focus of the opponent’s defensive game plan on a night-to-night basis. Also, keep in mind that Siakam didn’t start playing basketball until he was almost 18 years old; he’s not a typical player development case because he learned how to play later in life.

What areas does Siakam need to improve in? He needs to get better at his in-between game, mid-range shots and touch floaters. He also needs to learn to be more effective with less dribbles, which is an issue that ruined many offensive possessions for the Raptors during their playoff series versus Boston this past season.

The number of dribbles Siakam needs to get to his spots on both the block and on the perimeter is just not efficient enough at all, as it invites defenses to close in and help. The other areas of improvement would be getting better as a passer out of double teams and be a more consistent threat from three-point range. It does sound like a lot, but as previously mentioned, he’s already shown improvements in these areas season by season – he just needs to take another leap.

All in all, let’s pump the breaks on giving up hope for Pascal Siakam. He won’t be traded any time soon, if at all. He’s paid around the amount he should be considering his overall impact and the position he plays, and I don’t think we have seen the best version of him yet due to his raw potential and the fact he has only been playing the sport for less than a decade.

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If anything, Raptors fans should be optimistic about Siakam’s future with Toronto, as the pessimism isn’t justified at this point in his career.