Toronto Raptors offseason preview: Pascal Siakam

Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam (Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam (Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Pascal Siakam (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

How did he perform relative to expectations last season?

Last year, Pascal Siakam was expected to be a decent power forward for the Raptors. He would be in the starting rotation and provide length and athleticism at the four spot, something that is now a trend in the NBA. He was expected to be strong defensively and a good amount of energy offensively.

Siakam did so much more than that, giving Nick Nurse and the Raptors much more than anyone could have expected. He took the entire league by surprise, becoming the second-best player on a title team.

In the 80 games he played in last season, Pascal averaged 16.9 points per game. That is 9+ point jump from the prior season. He also averaged 6.9 boards per game and 3.1 assists per game. Siakam’s stats don’t tell the whole story though, as he played with unmatched intensity and effort on a nightly basis.

Siakam showed improvements in his shooting stats across the board. He increased his field goal percentage (54.9 percent), three-point percentage (36.9) and free-throw percentage (78.5). Nobody expected to see this much improvement in his shooting, and it was that growth which made Siakam’s game more dangerous.

With his play this past year, Siakam earned many accolades. He was awarded the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award and was given the nicknames “Spicy-P” and “P-Sizzle” respectively. Oh, and let’s not forgot he was a key piece in the Raptors’ championship run, dropping 32 points on 82 percent shooting in game one of the NBA Finals.

It is safe to say that Spicy-P exceeded expectations by a country mile last season. He played out of his mind on many nights, even becoming the primary option when Kawhi Leonard sat. He took the NBA by storm and put the league on notice that he is a force to be reckoned with for at least the next couple of seasons.

This might seem harsh, but even after his stellar year in 2018, there is much more Siakam needs to improve on this offseason. Much more is expected of him, which requires an increase in skills.