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 (Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /

What does he need to improve this offseason?

One of the main things Siakam needs to focus on this offseason is his ball-handling and playmaking. Due to circumstance, he will have the ball in his hands much more and he will need to have the IQ to make the right passes to the right people.

His ball-handling isn’t horrific, but with the assumption that he will be a primary ball-handler on many occasions this upcoming season, he will need to have an improved dribble package to maneuver through opposing defenses.

Even though he showed major improvement last season, shooting is still an area that Pascal must work on. Siakam’s game was largely limited to low-post and transition opportunities last season. 61.9 percent of his points were inside the paint and 22.3 percent of his points came in transition.  

Siakam needs to particularly focus on his midrange shooting stroke. He never seemed comfortable taking those kinds of shots last year, even when he had an open look. Only 2.3 percent of his points came from the midrange area last year. If he can improve on that area of the floor, it will open up a plethora of options for him offensively.

He should also put some more work into his three-point shot. Siakam’s three-point shot was only effective from the corners, where he shot 39 percent. From above the break, he was dismal 27-percent. Shooting threes effectively is almost a requirement in today’s NBA, so it’s time for Pascal to jump on that train as well.

This could be seen as nitpicking, but Siakam should also look to become more of a disruptor on defense. This means more steals, deflections, and blocks. He was outside the top 50 in deflections per game and didn’t average a steal or a block per game last season. If Siakam can get more blocks, he can become one of the more athletic rim protectors in the NBA. He has the length and the athleticism, so it is just a matter of practicing his timing and sharpening his instincts.

Siakam’s developmental path changed a lot now that Leonard decided to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency. He now has to focus on many aspects of his game in a single offseason, whereas he could’ve focused on just a couple of areas if Kawhi decided to stay.

If anybody is ready for this challenge though, it’s Spicy P. He seems to be hard at work already on improving his all-around game, as he was seen working on his shot earlier this summer. If he can take his game to the next level, he is on track to have a monster season in 2019.