Title: Siakam, Poeltl part of Raptors’ mutual admiration society
Date: December 7, 2017
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I looked at the burgeoning on-court chemistry between Jakob Poeltl and Pascal Siakam.
Jamaal Magloire has his sleeves rolled up as he patrols the paint. One of the Toronto Raptors’ player development consultants, helping run the team’s bigs through their pre-game routine is a part of the day Magloire clearly relishes. As he looms in the key waiting to provide resistance at the rim, he barks “two-nine,” to assure he’s not committing a three-second violation, offers a healthy dose of trash-talk, and consistently reminds Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl to “embrace contact! Embrace it!”
These pre-game sessions see the Raptors’ sophomore bigs get their work in together. The routine can be a little rote at times, though there are enough wrinkles to keep things interesting over the 15 or 20 minutes. They’ll engage in a dribble hand-off that becomes a side pick-and-roll, attack baseline or dive toward the middle, and then face to the corner for a three, working from both sides of the court. They’ll pick-and-pop above the break, catch tough pocket passes on the roll, and try to finish through Magloire’s 7-foot frame (and sometimes even larger voice).
It’s not without value, as more than just a warmup. Siakam and Poeltl will also run through actions together that have begun materializing in games. Often, one will set a screen, pop for a pass, attack the paint, and then dump off to the other, and they’ll work on catching on cuts and finding quick dump-offs when help comes. If either of those sound familiar, it’s because variants of each produced points on Friday against Indiana.