Toronto Raptors: Is Pascal Siakam a top-5 player in the East?

Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Pascal Siakam (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images) /

4. Pascal Siakam

Apologies if you thought that Pascal Siakam was going to come in a little higher than fourth, but considering where he might have been ranked after the first month of last season, this is a jump that not too many players in the NBA could make – and there’s scope to go even higher.

In all honesty, it’s very close between Siakam and Beal for the fourth or fifth spot, but looking at both players in their current form it’s hard not to give Siakam the nod; so that’s what we are doing.

Siakam has been superb to start the season and has expanded his offensive game once again. The final pieces of the puzzle for Siakam were the addition of a jump shot and, perhaps, an increase in his playmaking abilities.

The jump shot is a work in progress, but we’ve seen Siakam take, and make, above the break threes while hitting mid-range jumpers too. His confidence in taking the off-the-dribble stuff is promising too. Last season, Siakam looked hesitant to take anything that wasn’t a corner three or a shot in the paint, which was no more evident than against the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, when Joel Embiid shut Siakam down every time he had the ball in his hands.

Now, the pieces are falling into place. The NBA’s Most Improved Player has a real chance to win the award this year, such is his rise. Fourth best player in the East? That sounds about right.