Title:Pascal Siakam’s matchup with Anthony Davis provides special insight into his rapid and impressive growth
Date: November 12, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic, I wrote about Pascal Siakam’s rapid career progression, artificial limits, and a litmus test against Anthony Davis.
By the open-source standards of 2018, it was a mystery game. The Toronto Raptors were in New Orleans for their final exhibition game, on the second night of a back-to-back and without several key pieces. In the grand scheme of things, it is probably fine that the Pelicans opted not to broadcast it, weird though it seemed. Interested Raptors fans were left to follow by the box score or, for the savvier and more pirate-willing (guilty), watch a live-captured version of the Pelicans’ jumbotron feed. It was a shaky enough experience that several Raptors plays went unseen as the big screen focused on Pelicans replays and that a certain Raptors reporter was left to make heads or tails of His Exhibit 10 Guys through a cell phone on the bench of his rec league game.
All of that is to say, not even an anti-modern approach to a preseason broadcast and the caveats of exhibition play could stem the excitement at Pascal Siakam’s performance. Up against Anthony Davis – in plain terms and as a matter of defensive assignment for a notable portion of the game – Siakam turned heads with his stat line: 21 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and four steals in 28 minutes as a heavily short-handed Raptors squad rolled a Pelicans team largely in dress rehearsal mode. There is only so much admonishing that can be done about dreaming on the extrapolation of a preseason performance so grand.
A month into the season, it seems to have been more warning than aberration. On Monday, Siakam was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week, becoming the first Raptor not named Kyle Lowry or DeMar DeRozan to win the award since Lou Williams in 2014 and becoming the first G League graduate since Hassan Whiteside to earn the honour. More importantly than the nod to what he’d done so far, Siakam would get another chance to go head-to-head with Davis, this time in a more representative environment.