Pascal Siakam’s dominant play so far in the playoffs has the Raptors looking like they are ready to put their past playoff failures behind them and make their first NBA finals in franchise history. He is second in scoring behind Kawhi Leonard averages 24 points per game. Siakam is leading the team in rebounding at ten a game and is also leading the team in minutes played averaging 40 minutes a game.
Siakam is coming off his best season in his young career. He averaged 16 points, 7 rebounds while shooting 54 percent from the field. Siakam was one of the players I picked to have a breakout season. In the article, I wrote ”Siakam’s shooting range now stretches out to the 3 point line. His ball handling was much improved allowing him to play make for teammates and add to his ever-growing skill set”.
Last season he shot 22 percent from the three-point line. This season he improved to 36 percent averaging three attempts a game. His assist improved by one, and with his role on the team grew larger, he saw his minutes increase by 11 going from 20 to 31 minutes a game. The Raptors came into game 4 with a 2-1 lead in the series over the Orlando Magic. It was Siakam’s play down the stretch that led the Raptors to victory. Siakam scored four points in the last minutes of the fourth quarter.
One was on an isolation post up, and the other basket came with a little bit over a minute left. With the shot clock running down he was able to sweep and go past his defender in the corner and convert a tough runner in the lane. The Raptors were able to run away with game four and take a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Magic Siakam finished with 16 points and 6 rebounds. The Raptors are now in a position to eliminate the Magic and move on to the second round. Barring an incredible comeback by the Brooklyn Nets they will be facing the talented Philadelphia 76ers.
Kawhi Leonard is the unquestioned superstar of this current Raptors team. If the Raptors want to represent the Eastern Conference and make their first NBA finals their success ultimately rest in the hands of Pascal Siakam. That's why Masai Ujiri is one of the best Presidents in the NBA. Ujiri was able to draft Siakam with the 27th pick in the 2016 draft. Through his leadership and vision, Siakam was able to grow and mature as a player playing for the Raptors G-League affiliate the Raptors 905. He would lead the 905’s to the championship and was named finals MVP.
This past offseason Ujiri was able to trade for Kawhi Leonard without giving up his best young player. The Emergence of Siakam this playoff season gives the Raptors one hell of an insurance policy if Leonard elects to sign somewhere else this coming summer. For Raptors fans the summer is a long way off. My advice for the fans is to continue to enjoy this playoff run the Raptors are currently on, because with the stellar play of Pascal Siakam this playoff run very well may end with a trip to the NBA Finals.