Pascal Siakam and DeMar DeRozan recently got down to talking on IG Live. What did we learn from the conversation between two Toronto Raptors greats?
Despite the lack of basketball, the power of the internet is still giving us an opportunity to watch basketball players interact with one another. In this case, we got to see Pascal Siakam and DeMar DeRozan - two Toronto Raptors greats - shoot the breeze on Instagram Live earlier this week.
Siakam and DeRozan played on some of the most successful Raptors teams in franchise history for the past few years before DeRozan was traded to the San Antonio Spurs almost two seasons ago. We all know how that trade went down and the effects of it - the Raptors winning their first-ever NBA title - but it was still interesting to see Siakam and DeRozan talk candidly about life before and after that moment.
While the conversation was fairly brief, we got everything from both players talking about how anxious they are to get back on the court - of course, the NBA is on an indefinite hiatus since the outbreak of COVID-19 - to both players acknowledging who the greatest player in franchise history is.
Like most conversations between NBA stars, there is always something to learn. You'll always find an interesting anecdote or two to dissect and that's where the fun begins. For us, we learned a few things from this conversation, but what were they?
Pascal Siakam had the most fun playing with the "Bench Mob"
It might come as a shock to learn that the most fun Pascal Siakam has ever had playing professional basketball wasn't last year - the year where the Toronto Raptors won their first-ever NBA title with Siakam playing a pivotal role. It wasn't even the same season, playing alongside a game-changing superstar like Kawhi Leonard.
Surely, that would mean that it had to be this season, with Siakam taking on the mantle of the Raptors franchise man. In his maiden season as the leading scorer, the Raptors have won 48 games and already secured a place in the playoffs while the first-time All-Star has averaged 23.6 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game, shooting 46-percent from the field and 36-percent.
Again, that's not the case.
In fact, the most fun he's ever had playing basketball, according to the man himself, is with the Raptors in the 2017-18 NBA season. Back then, Siakam was in just his second season with the Raptors but playing with the fabled "Bench Mob".
"That was the most fun I had playing basketball," Siakam told DeRozan. "It was so fun and the whole team was together and obviously you guys, like Kyle, like the older guys were hanging out more, but then it was always like love with the younger guys. The younger guys were always staying together too ... and we played great. Literally, it was amazing."
Siakam and DeRozan agree about the greatest Raptor of all-time
The debate surrounding the greatest Raptor of all-time is a recent conversation more than most. The Raptors' history isn't long or blessed with much success in its early years. Naturally, the conversation swerved directly towards the path of Vince Carter up until the past four or five years.
Now, there are a handful of the names who enter the conversation. Obviously, there's Carter; the first real star for the Raptors. Then there's DeRozan; the franchise-leader in games played and points, he was the face of the Raptors up until being traded away to the San Antonio Spurs for Kawhi Leonard who also deserves an honorable mention despite only spending one - ultra-successful - season with the team.
According to Siakam and DeRozan, the answer is pretty simple: it's Kyle Lowry.
They both laughed briefly after DeRozan said he got off the phone with Lowry and Siakam remarked that he saw that DeRozan had said that Lowry was "the greatest [Raptor] ever" before Siakam agreed with the sentiment. After that, they spoke briefly about DeRozan setting the scene for the Raptors to put themselves into a winning position and his impact on the team.
If you needed any more proof that Kyle Lowry is the greatest Raptor of all-time then look no further. Two of the Raptors best agree that the former Villanova point guard is the one.
DeRozan's relationship with the team
Breaking up is never easy and neither is being traded away - especially when you've been with the team for nine seasons and are one of the greatest players in franchise history. For DeMar DeRozan, that was the case when the Raptors traded him away to the San Antonio Spurs for Kawhi Leonard two long years ago.
Since then, success hasn't shied away from the North. The Raptors won their first-ever NBA title last season and were already locked into a playoff spot this year with a 46-18 record in the Eastern Conference.
Still, even after everything, DeRozan shares a bond with the team and it's nice to see. Of course, we know that Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are the closest of friends, but DeRozan shared some info on just how close his bond was with the team.
DeRozan noted that he regularly went over to watch the Raptors 905 play in G-League games, with the team featuring both Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet during the 2016-17 season.
"The camaraderie we always had was something else, that was a major part of our success," DeRozan said after mentioning that no matter what, he was always the first to congratulate the team after he left.
After so many years together, it's pretty evident that this team had a bond that saturated past the confines of a basketball court and it's nice to see that that's still the case now.
This didn't last very long, but it was a nice distraction for everyone in such a trying time. Hopefully, we can get back to watching Siakam and DeRozan on the court in the near future.