Toronto Raptors: Pascal Siakam at center is done for now

(Ray Chavez/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images)
(Ray Chavez/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images) /

The idea of Pascal Siakam playing at center for the Toronto Raptors was an exciting prospect. With the arrival of Marc Gasol, that avenue is now closed.

Before the Toronto Raptors acquisition of Marc Gasol before the trade deadline, there was a gaping hole at center, primarily with the second unit.

Originally, the spot was filled by either Serge Ibaka or Jonas Valanciunas. Nick Nurse abided by the notion that the Raptors should have a fluid rotation at the five spot and, depending on the matchup, Ibaka or Valanciunas would get the nod.

But then Jonas Valanciunas went down injured against Golden State, and there was a problem.

The only remaining center on the Raptors roster was Greg Monroe and..the results were not good. They were bad. Very, very bad.

Monroe ranked 414th in Real Plus-Minus and was a defensive nightmare in every game he appeared in. The Raptors brought in Monroe for his ability to score in the paint and bring down offensive boards, he showed glimpses of those attributes but by the end of his time in Toronto, they were non-existent.

Monroe’s minutes with the team became less and less as his impact negated anything the team did, which once again, left a huge hole at center.

With the NBA going through a period of sending out smaller, more athletic line-ups, Toronto had a player that could fit perfectly in that position: Pascal Siakam.

Long, athletic and gifted with an incredible motor, Siakam has all the makings of a small-ball center.  He’s spent nine-percent of his minutes at center this season, and the results have been mixed. They can switch well on defense with Siakam at center, but just like most scenarios this season, the Raptors struggled to rebound the ball with Siakam at the five.

Having a potential playmaker and someone who can stretch the floor at the five, Siakam should seriously be considered as a competent three-point shooter now, is very en vogue in the NBA right now. But, Siakam still has ways to go yet before he can be a routine option at center

And now, with the addition of Marc Gasol, that experiment seems firmly put to bed for the meantime.

Gasol’s presence on the roster puts the Raptors at two centers both fully capable of starting or playing arduous minutes, the need for Siakam to fill in at the position is nullified. Either one of Gasol or Ibaka will be on the court at all times, and sometimes they both will. Though, the returns from that two-man combination have not been good so far, really not good.

Siakam is better off used as the energetic power forward playing beside one of the big men. When paired with Gasol he can space the floor and cut to the basket, or play as a ball-handler in a pick-and-roll. Their time on the court together has been a lot more favorable than the Ibaka/Gasol pairing, though that doesn’t come as a shock

Next. Five best centers in Toronto Raptors history. dark

There might be a future purpose for Siakam at the center spot, but for now, it doesn’t seem too necessary. Besides, he’s doing just fine at power forward anyway.