Title: Giannis and the Bucks will present an important test for Siakam, Anunoby
Date: November 1, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Giannis Antetokounmpo as an early checkpoint for Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby.
There is one matchup for the Toronto Raptors where the how-to-replace-Kawhi Leonard question becomes especially magnified: The Milwaukee Bucks.
We’ve discussed the fallout of Leonard’s departure on both ends of the floor plenty by now. Offence is a far bigger concern, with a massive usage vacuum created by his absence, particularly in the clutch and in the postseason. Pascal Siakam is doing well to just step right into that role, presumed in this space to be too large a subsequent usage jump. (Through five games: Oops.) The defensive side was presumed to be a little easier to account for, at least over 82 games, as the team’s is returning several key defensive personnel.
The Bucks are a different challenge. Leonard still averaged 29.8 points in the Eastern Conference Finals, and it can’t be assumed — without seeing it first — that Siakam will overcome Milwaukee’s game plan for him. Siakam averaged 14.5 points on 40/25/67 shooting in that series. He’s also been far improved early on in ways that are meaningful against the Bucks: Hitting threes above the break and passing when extra attention comes. The Bucks are who they are on that end, and will present a strong test for those emerging Siakam skills.