Title: Re-examining Pascal Siakam’s 2019-20 usage jump through precedent and context
Date: April 2, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I took a deeper look at Pascal Siakam’s growth in his fourth season and how he compares to others who have undergone major usage spikes.
There is only one Pascal Siakam.
That is how I framed Siakam’s development last offseason, after he’d entered rarefied air in terms of year-over-year-over-year growth. The intent of that line was twofold: To try to stave off questions about the possibility of OG Anunoby (or anyone else for that matter) having a “Siakam-like breakout,” and to be upfront about the fact that projecting Siakam’s 2019-20 – when he’d be asked to take yet another massive leap – would be difficult. We try to make projections based on at least loose precedents. Siakam’s path through three years was almost entirely without them.
Could Siakam maintain his efficiency with a spike in usage? Could he maintain it as the top focus of opposing defences? Just how large a share of the offence would the Raptors ask him to take on? And could a redefinition of his offensive role coexist with his fundamental strengths and still fit within the larger offence? The answer, in almost every case, was that we’d have to wait and see. Macro historical trends offered some guesses, but Siakam hadn’t fit any other development curve to that point. How much efficacy was there in looking at the standard paths Siakam had all but eschewed?
Siakam’s fourth season is, of course, still-in-progress until we hear otherwise. The extended hiatus provides an opportunity to check in on these questions.