US Media on the Toronto Raptors, including Pascal’s case for MIP

Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

As the season enters its final stages, much of the press stateside begins to focus on playoff positioning, teams finding their rhythm and some post-season award potential. Here’s what the US media had to say about the Toronto Raptors.

Pascal Siakam of the Toronto Raptors garnered some attention south of the border this week as media outlets begin share their views on end of season awards. For many in Toronto, Siakam has the award wrapped up. Do our southern neighbours feel the same? Check out a couple of pieces from SI and The Ringer.

Raptor fans are keeping a close eye on the standings, trying to figure out where the competition may eventually end up and how their bracket may play out. The Boston Celtics, early season favourites, have struggled for much of the year. Raptors fans are hoping that they don’t have enough time to figure it out before the playoffs. We have a piece that says they might be on their way to doing so.

It’s safe to say that no one still views Danny Green as a throw in as part of the blockbuster DeRozan-Leonard trade last summer. But few would have guessed how valuable Green would have become to the Toronto Raptors and his effect on the entire team. We have a piece that takes a closer look at his numbers and impact.


The Toronto Raptors lost another tough one last week to former coach Dwayne Casey and his pesky Detroit Pistons. The Detroit Free Press had this to say about another tough Raptors loss to the Pistons and how traveling Raptor fans are taking over in Detroit.

Gordon Hayward has been on the long road back from that gruesome leg injury at the start of last season. He has begun to show flashes of his former self of late. Might his re-emergence be enough to help the Celtics find their way back to challenge the Raptors, Bucks and other contenders in the East? The Boston Globe looks at his resurgence here and how it might impact the competition in the East.


NBC Sports dives into the impact Danny Green has had on the Toronto Raptors, beyond being more than just ‘Kawhi Leonard whisperer’. Yes, Green was able to diffuse some of the tension during the stand-off last year in San Antonio between Leonard and some of his teammates, and fans may be hoping that having Green around may increase Leonard’s chances of staying. Whether that truly is the case remains to be seen.

But Green brings much more to the table than that. The Raptors, to a man, are a better team with Green on the floor than they are without, the piece states.

"Overall, Toronto plays like a 68-win team with Green and a 28-win team without him. That 40-win-pace difference ranks third in the NBA, behind the Thunder’s Paul George and the Warriors’ Kevin Durant (minimum: 500 minutes)."

I’m putting my money down on Pascal Siakam taking home the Most Improved Player award and so should you. His numbers have jumped off the chart this year. His shooting percentage from deep has jumped from 22-percent last year to nearly 37-percent this season, while his scoring has increased from seven points per game last year to over 16 a game this year. His eFG% has jumped 60 points despite heaving up more than five shots more per game and facing a much more intense focus on him from opposing teams. SI takes a close look at Pascal Siakam’s Breakout Season and wonders if he can sustain it during the Raptors playoff, run this year.

The Ringer chisels the Most Improved race down to three competitors: Siakam, De’Aaron Fox and Paul George. They argue the award isn’t simply one that goes to a newer player who has made great and sudden progress. They argue it has more nuanced than that. Here’s a look at how The Ringer breaks down the race.

Power Rankings

SI has the Raptors up to the third spot this week citing that the Raptors still have a chance at catching the Bucks.

"The Raptors play teams below .500 in 11 of their final 15 games. The Bucks left the door open this week with a couple bad losses, meaning the top seed is still up for grabs if Toronto can close out the season hot. Worst case scenario, at least this is a chance to get players more acclimated with each other before the post-season"

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ESPN also has the Raptors at the third spot this week, behind the Bucks at number one and the Warriors in second. Siakam, they claim, is one of the big stories this year for the Raptors and his numbers undoubtedly make him the odds on favourite to pull in the Most Improved Player award.