The Toronto Raptors have needed their starters to pick up the slack this season and Pascal Siakam has shown that he is getting back to his old self.
If the Toronto Raptors expected to have any chance of being a playoff team this season, their core players were going to have to step up in a big way.
For a good part of the season, Fred VanVleet was carrying the team night in and night out but slowly but surely, Pascal Siakam is turning the corner. After having surgery on his shoulder, he is returning to his dominant form.
For a while, the conversation was around whether it made sense to trade Siakam but if he continues to play like this, the answer would be no. Seeing how he dominated the Milwaukee Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo, that’s something the Raptors desperately needed from him.
As Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun writes, Siakam is averaging 3.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 5.6 assists over his last 15 games. He’s also bringing it on the defensive ends which is what made him worthy of a four-year, $130-million max contract extension.
He still has work to do and the Raptors need it because their depth is not stepping up right now so the starting lineup needs to produce as much as they can. Considering he is producing at the same level as the NBA’s elite players, the Raptors have to be ecstatic with Siakam’s turnaround.
"“Everybody tends to focus on the scoring and rebounding, but he’s kind of hitting a lot of other points that are really, really critical — from passing to defending to rebounding to leading,” head coach Nick Nurse told the Toronto Star‘s Doug Smith."
If the Raptors can pair the production from the starting lineup to an improvement from the bench players, Toronto should be able to make it to the playoffs. How far they can go will be tough to gauge because it’s too early to say whether they can go toe-to-toe with the elite teams in the East.
It seems like Siakam’s play could be the difference between Toronto being a contender or coming up short.
What are your thoughts on Siakam’s performance this season? Is this something he can sustain? Will it make them a contender in the East? Let us know in the comments below.