Toronto Raptors: Stock Take, and Pascal Siakam in the MVP hunt

Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Marc Gasol (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

Marc Gasol

How about we go ahead and give Marc Gasol a lot of credit once again? That sounds fun, let’s do that. Gasol isn’t going to hit us with the points production that saw him lead the Memphis Grizzlies a few years ago, but his game is still very much a positive impact for the Raptors.

Gasol is only averaging 5.8 points per game this season, shooting 31-percent from the field and 38-percent from three, and his points per game dropped in the last three games, but Gasol still averaged 5.3 rebounds, five assists, 1.3 steals, and two blocks per game on top of his three points per game in the last three games.

As important as points are in a game of basketball, not everyone has the capacity to be a 25 points per game scorer, and that is no longer the proximity in which we should expect Gasol to operate This week, he was able to impact the Raptors on both ends of the court and helped them maintain a perfect home record.

A large portion of his impact came against the Philadelphia 76ers. After schooling Joel Embiid in a seven-game series in last year’s playoffs, Gasol took Embiid to the cleaners once again on Monday night, holding him to zero points from the field in the worst game of Embiid’s career.

Gasol matched up against Embiid for longer than he’s matched up with any other player so far this year, and held Embiid to 0-of-9 from the field, with three turnovers for Embiid in nine minutes.

Embiid was doubled and trapped by Gasol and help defenders every time he touched the ball in the paint. The Raptors forced the Sixers to take threes. That was the plan. The plan needed Gasol to operate on another level defensively and he did so.

He deserves credit for that because Embiid is still one of the best centers in the game. Gasol just has his number.