Trash-talk Toronto Raptors: All aboard the Pascal Siakam for MVP train

TORONTO, ON- OCTOBER 30 - Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) celebrates after hitting a buzzer beater to end the third quarter as the Toronto Raptors beat the Detroit Pistons 125-113 in NBA action at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. October 30, 2019. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON- OCTOBER 30 - Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) celebrates after hitting a buzzer beater to end the third quarter as the Toronto Raptors beat the Detroit Pistons 125-113 in NBA action at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. October 30, 2019. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Chris Mannix: “I don’t know if I’m the driver of the Pascal Siakam for MVP bandwagon, but I’m at least leading it. I want to be one of the first people in that line.”

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated joined The Ringer’s Bill Simmons on his podcast to discuss one week of the NBA. While they went through the typical Luka Doncic and Trae Young drooling, Mannix said he was loving the Toronto Raptors.

Now, the Toronto Raptors are in a weirdly tough position. They are the defending champs, but perhaps like no others before them they have very low expectations. Be that as it may, they have started out looking hot and Siakam has been the driver for most of the season so far.

Mannix was wildly impressed with Siakam’s above the break 3-point improvement and confirmed that it was difficult not to compare him to Kawhi Leonard, another player that made leaps and bounds in his shooting capability.

Moreover, Mannix confirmed that Siakam was already an elite defender, great in the open floor, and the fact that the Toronto Raptors were 17-5 without Leonard last season. The exposure and unimpeded compliments from Mannix perhaps signifies a change in the national media landscape: the Toronto Raptors are a force to be reckoned with.

Toronto has long been subdued from national media attention, but the championship really put them on the map. While I want to criticize Mannix for taking so long to confirm what fans have already recognized with Siakam, I’m extremely happy that they are getting their due beyond Kawhi Leonard.

This, of course, only helps the Toronto Raptors’ future as they chase after free agents for 2020 and beyond. Yes, we’ve all heard the Giannis Antetokounmpo rumors for 2021 and this exposure only helps that case.

Mannix welcome aboard the Pascal Siakam train, we’ve been waiting for someone like you to help us out. I promise that although it might be cold above the border, the basketball is always spicy.