In a recent bleacher report, they discussed blockbuster trades for every team. Is a Siakam for Ingram trade at all plausible for the Toronto Raptors?
Pascal Siakam has become the face of the Toronto Raptors franchise over the years. His story from winning the G-League, to winning the most improved player of the year and championship is the type of storyline that fans and media love. A hard worker always beats talent, and that is how Siakam is becoming a top player in this league. Siakam’s hard work and rise in the NBA embodies the Toronto Raptors’ great player development. Now, imagine trading all that away for a haul around Brandon Ingram?
Your first thought would be no, and your second thought would probably be a no too. But the trade all stems from a recent Bleacher Report article that suggested this trade package:
- New Orleans Pelicans get: Pascal Siakam
- Toronto Raptors get: Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, LAL 2021 first-round pick (protected 8-30) turns into unprotected 2022 first-round pick.
Although this trade does help the Toronto Raptors in the long-run. With Josh Hart being 25, Brandon Ingram being 22, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker being 21. These are exactly all the young pieces that a rebuilding team wants. But it might even be a trade that a win-now team may want with Brandon Ingram as the centerpiece of this trade.
- Pascal Siakam: 23.6 Points/7.5 Rebounds/3.6 Assists
- Brandon Ingram: 24.3 Points/6.3 Rebounds/4.3 Assists
Pascal Siakam is not miles ahead of Brandon Ingram as you may think. They can both create their own shot, score in the paint, defend wings, and are both asked to do the same things from their team. However, Brandon Ingram is a much better shooter than Pascal Siakam from just about anywhere. Brandon Ingram shoots 41 percent from the mid-range to Pascal Siakam’s 35 percent. Ingram also shoots 39 percent from three to Siakam’s 36 percent, per Cleaning The Glass.
But we know Siakam’s strength was never his shooting but rather his athletic ability. His shooting is something that is he added to his game that is still a work in progress. He is also the main focal point on offense, leading the team in shot attempts per game with 18. When Siakam is on the court, the team scores 6.2 more points per 100 possessions compared to when he was off the court.
Brandon Ingram doesn’t seem to have that same impact in this regard, despite shooting it the same amount of times as Siakam. When Ingram is on the court, the New Orleans offensive production is almost the same as when he is off the court, per Cleaning The Glass.
Of course, Siakam being on a better team and playing with a better system will benefit his case more. Nonetheless, Siakam plays a bigger part in his team than Ingram does. Siakam is somewhat more polished and game ready than Ingram, even though Ingram is currently better on offense.
As much as you wouldn’t want to believe it, Ingram still has much more upside than Siakam does. Ingram is three years younger than Siakam and is already a better scorer than Siakam is. Ingram’s defense might not have shined this year, but he showed lots of promise on that end with the Los Angeles Lakers under Luke Walton. So as lopsided as this trade may seem at first glance, it is not.
On top of receiving a potential better “Siakam”, the Raptors get another perfect three and D guy in Josh Hart, and promising young talent in Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and on top of that, a first-round pick.
At the end of it all, accepting such a trade is impossible to do. Siakam has shown improvements each in every year, was an important part of Toronto’s championship run and is the face of the franchise for years to come. After trading DeMar DeRozan, trading Siakam will just seem heartless and make Toronto a colder place than it already is — unless it is for a Kawhi Leonard caliber player.
Everyone loves the underdog story, and trading Toronto’s favorite player for Ingram and rotation players would not fare as well.
Also, the biggest edge that Siakam will hold next to Ingram is his Championship experience. The Toronto Raptors are clearly in win-now mode even with Kawhi Leonard’s departure. Heck, before the NBA was halted, the Toronto Raptors held the THIRD best record in the whole league. They are one of the smartest and most organized teams in the league, despite having no real “Superstar” like the teams in front of them or even the teams behind them have.
Trading Siakam for a player still growing will decrease their current championship window and will also leave fans very unhappy. But if the trade would go through, there is no doubt that the Toronto Raptors would still be a top team in the Eastern Conference. Nick Nurse is one of the smartest coaches and he can make any system work.
As interesting as this trade is when you think of what Nick Nurse would be able to do with his players, I doubt it is a trade that either team would ever consider doing.