Title: Pascal Siakam’s growth as a ball-handler opening up options for Raptors
Date: February 16, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I looked at Pascal Siakam’s growth as a playmaker and how important it is to his ceiling as a player.
Over the first two-thirds of the season, there’s been no shortage of positive developments on the Raptors to be excited about. Entering the season with concerns about depth and experience, a youthful bench with exactly one veteran player has instead staked their claim as the best in the league. You’re free to pick which player’s improvement excites you the most. There are no wrong answers here, and the Raptors short-term future seems more or less set since everyone in the 10-man rotation, save for Fred VanVleet, is locked up.
Looking longer term and bigger picture, no Raptor has done more to improve their high-percentile projection than Pascal Siakam.
Selected 27th overall in 2016, Siakam was initially thought to be a longer-term project. The Raptors believed he had starting power forward upside, but a player who was late to the sport and was coming off of two years at a smaller program would need time. Things didn’t break that way, though. The Raptors needed Siakam to start 38 games last season, expediting his learning curve. It was a tough situation, and while Siakam consistently brought the kind of energy that was advertised, he understandably struggled, making for a difficult rookie season.