Toronto Raptors: Grades for the past five first round picks

Toronto Raptors - OG Anunoby (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - OG Anunoby (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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TORONTO, CANADA – MARCH 27: Pascal Siakam
TORONTO, CANADA – MARCH 27: Pascal Siakam /

Pascal Siakam

Despite being taken 18 spots lower in the draft, Pascal Siakam was the best selection the Raptors made in 2016. The second year power forward took a major step in development last season, producing at a high level while showing flashes of even more potential.

Similar to many of Masai’s selections, Pascal Siakam was extremely productive in college, granted at a lower level of competition.

While playing for New Mexico State, who is part of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), Siakam averaged 20.3 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game. Siakam also was voted as WAC Player of the Year while helping his team win a conference title.

During his first season with Toronto, Siakam showed energy and effort if little else. He bounced around like a charged up energizer bunny, producing at levels higher than his skill would suggest.

In his first season, Siakam started 38 games, although that was largely due to a complete lack of depth at the position before the Ibaka trade. By the end of the year Siakam was playing sparingly, if at all.

Last season, however, Siakam showed a completely new skill-set. No longer was Siakam strictly an high-energy player. Instead, Siakam showed new abilities in both shot creation and playmaking for others. Siakam increased his assists from .7 per 36 minutes his rookie season to 3.4 per 36 last year.

Furthermore, Siakam continued to progress as a switch-defender and even served as a primary defender on John Wall during the playoffs.

Ultimately, like many players, Siakam’s future will be largely decided on his ability to develop a three-point shot. If he is able to develop a reliable shot from beyond the arc, Siakam has the potential to reach near All-Star status.

When reviewing other possible selections, only Dejounte Murray appears to be a better prospect at this time. Once again Ujiri nailed a late first round pick.

Overall Grade: A