Title: Anatomy of a Raptors upset: Siakam’s adjustment, Anunoby contains LeBron, bring on Kawhi
Date: November 11, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the Raptors’ big upset of the Lakers and the process-side developments from within it.
Pascal Siakam was adamant he had not fouled LeBron James.
When the whistle came to signal a shooting foul, Siakam let it be known. James, who has earned the benefit of every doubt when driving with a head of steam, let Siakam know that he had, in fact, made contact.
Siakam was having none of it.
It wasn’t heated, but Siakam was resolute. He hadn’t committed a foul, and he saw little reason to let it go. Even on a night when he’d been struggling mightily with his offence, and thrust into not just primary option duties, but also heavy lead ball-handler against the league’s best defence, his confidence wasn’t wavering.
There is little quit in Siakam’s DNA. At a pre-draft workout in Buffalo in 2016, he felt he should be competing with the lottery picks – including close friend Jakob Poeltl – instead of the options at No. 27. As a rookie, he felt he could start. While on G League assignment, he was out to prove he belonged in the NBA. At each successive step in Siakam’s growth, his demeanour has been unflappable. He is emotional yet always in control. Why, then, would he concede a 50-50 play (in real-time, anyway) to someone just because he’s LeBron James?