Title: Awards Watch: All-NBA teams, Pascal Siakam’s contract escalator and Kyle Lowry
Date: April 20, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the All-NBA cases for Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry, and what inclusion could mean for them.
For all the snubbery the Toronto Raptors sometimes feel at award season, it’s been a fruitful couple of years. Nowhere is that more apparent than on the annual All-NBA teams, where the Raptors have been represented for four consecutive seasons.
Can they make it a fifth in 2020? Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry leave that possibility open. Both have solid cases in deep fields, with decisions potentially made all the more difficult if the final chunk of the regular season is lost.
Other Raptors award considerations: Coach of the Year, Most Improved Player, All-Rookie, All-Defense.
Whereas All-Star voting restricts players to guard or frontcourt, there is a bit more functional flexibility for All-NBA team voting. Teams require two guards, two forwards and a centre, but voters can place players in whichever group they feel is appropriate. If they so choose, voters can get closer to rewarding the 15 best players regardless of position by nudging an Anthony Davis or Jimmy Butler in the necessary direction. This could help or hurt Siakam’s case, ballot to ballot, particularly with respect to how Butler is treated. (Incidentally, Butler being considered a forward en masse is better for Lowry.) Davis being voted as a centre would be meaningful for Siakam and could be justified with Joel Embiid, who missed a third of Philadelphia’s games, then falling off the ballot. Davis has played 38 percent of his minutes at centre this year, per Cleaning the Glass, a little less than his two seasons with All-NBA inclusion at centre and right in line with his one All-NBA inclusion as a forward. That spiked to over 50 percent in key minutes.