In this week's episode, Hunter Surphlis is joined by Lior Kozai to discuss Pascal Siakam's imminent return to the Toronto Raptors lineup, Fred VanVleet's future and much more.
The Toronto Raptors have been without their star forward Pascal Siakam for 11 games now due to a groin injury.
However, the 25-year-old has been cleared to practice starting this week, which means his return is just around the corner. *Knocks on wood*. Hunter and Lior discussed what this means for the team in their latest episode of the Raptors Rapture podcast:
Fortunately, despite an extremely injury-plagued season thus far, the Raptors have managed to keep their heads above water against a tough schedule staying put at fourth in the Eastern Conference.
Having a player of Siakam's caliber return to the rotation is, without a doubt, a net positive for the Raptors. When healthy, he averaged an impressive 25 points on 45-percent from the field and 39-percent from beyond the arch while adding eight rebounds to the mix.
Despite the added offence and defence, the team will face some difficulties when trying to mix him back into the rotation.
Earlier this year, when Kyle Lowry was coming back from his stint on the injured list, the Raptors struggled to muster up any good basketball for about a week. That was happening in a much more difficult part of their schedule, but the same type of thing will likely happen when adding Spicy P back into the lineup.
What really makes this type of addition difficult is how Nurse will manage the rest of the guys in the rotation. Players like Terence Davis, Patrick McCaw, and Chris Boucher have stepped up in their increased roles making that decision much harder.
Having to manage not just the minutes, but also the ego's of these players is a factor that shouldn't be overlooked. If a guy's confidence wains, chances are his play will be affected in a negative way as well.
Never the less, the positives outweigh the negatives outright when it comes to the re-addition of Siakam on the court. It will, however, be a good test for Nurse and the rest of the players.
This very well could be the biggest trade-deadline addition by any team at the top of the East.