Toronto Raptors starting Power Forward – Pascal Siakam
The Toronto Raptors will only go as far as Pascal Siakam takes them in a much tougher Eastern Conference. If Siakam plays at the MVP level he was playing at earlier last season, then there shouldn’t be any concern. But if he plays as he did in the bubble, then clicking the panic button is a reasonable option for Raptors fans who hold high expectations for the team moving forward.
If you watch highlights from Siakam earlier in the year and compare it to Siakam in the bubble, it’s like watching two different players. The MVP level Siakam was a real threat from all over the place. He took his man face up and beat players with his speed, while also shooting the three at an incredible rate (shotting nearly 40 percent from three in the first 27 games last season).
Meanwhile, in the bubble, it felt as if Siakam tried to forge an identity he wasn’t all that familiar with. Posting up on every play and failing to produce anything good for the Raptors. He also completely lost his shooting stroke, which was what made him so dangerous earlier in the season. Siakam just seemed lethargic in his play. It’s as if entering the bubble aged him by 20 years.
We do know that Pascal didn’t have the luxury to train during the quarantine, and that certainly didn’t help his case. But to see him not even being close to a shade of himself was certainly worrying.
In the upcoming season, there is doubt that Siakam will bounce back. He is a player that is all heart that’ll do whatever it takes to be the best. Can he return to the times where he was included in MVP conversations? There is no reason why not, and we shouldn’t expect less. Siakam knows he was bad in the bubble, so expect Siakam to come back hungry.
If he fails to find his form, then the Raptors will struggle mightily in a much stronger Eastern Conference this season.