Title: Pascal Siakam’s return is refreshing but doesn’t fix everything for Raptors
Date: January 12, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the returns of Pascal Siakam and Norman Powell, enough to spark the Raptors for a half but not fix everything at once.
It felt at the same time a fitting tribute and a warning shot; in either sense, a salvo.
On the Toronto Raptors’ second possession of the game, Pascal Siakam took DeMar DeRozan into the post. DeRozan, formerly one of Siakam’s veterans before a 2018 trade sent the former to the San Antonio Spurs, offered a wide stance and a broad chest to deny any further approach. Siakam, who has assumed the No. 1 scoring role once occupied by DeRozan, offered his left shoulder in response.
DeRozan has carved out a career as one of the league’s high-volume scorers from exactly this scenario. The macro discussions of his approach — perceived to be archaic despite growth in efficiency numbers that only requires creative thinking, rather than wholesale dismissing the shot profile, to appreciate in the team context — have at times confused just how well DeRozan has made this space his own. His footwork is unparalleled, his ability to get his shot off through contact a testament to his strength, his ability to draw fouls a nod to how difficult a matchup he is against any size defender. He has power moves, fadeaways and flip shots to manipulate space and angles, with a passing game that developed so dramatically over the last three or four seasons that it’s made guarding one of the less efficient spots on the floor a complicated question for him (and almost him alone).
Check it out on The Athletic.