Toronto Raptors: A lot of pressure riding on Pascal Siakam’s performance

Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

Pascal Siakam’s performance against the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night will have big implications for the Toronto Raptors.

The Toronto Raptors are coming off of their first win of the season against the New York Knicks. This comes after Toronto started the 2020-2021 NBA campaign 0-3. However, going into Thursday night’s matchup with the Knicks, Pascal Siakam was ruled out by the Raptors for disciplinary measures.

After Siakam fouled out in the Raptors’ loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, he left the court instead of staying on the bench with the rest of his team. The ownership in Toronto prides themselves on professionalism and made it known that no matter the stature of the player, there will be consequences for their actions.

Although Siakam didn’t suit up, the Raptors played great basketball in their first win of the season. Replacing Siakam in the starting lineup was Norman Powell who had 17 points, 4 rebounds, and was a game-high +28 on the court.

Pascal Siakam’s starting role isn’t in jeopardy, but it doesn’t look good in the slightest that the Raptors seemed to have their best game when their struggling star wasn’t active.

Other key contributors to the Raptors win were Kyle Lowry with 20 points, Fred Vanvleet with 25 points, and surprisingly Alex Len with 11 points, including three, three-pointers. It’s going to be interesting to see how Siakam responds to being benched. It will also be intriguing to see if Toronto can get key contributions from other players in Siakam’s return.

Ever since the NBA bubble, Pascal has been in a negative light from media and basketball fans. He hasn’t given a single performance that replicated his success prior to the suspension of the NBA season thus far. Any truly great player would take this opportunity to capitalize and prove the critics wrong.

Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Pascal Siakam (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

This will be the second and final time the Raptors will be facing the New Orleans Pelicans. In the first matchup, the Pelicans won 113-99 on opening night, while Siakam only had 20 points, along with 6 rebounds and 4 turnovers.

Pascal Siakam already knows the different types of defensive coverages the Pelicans have for him. It’s going to be key to see if he can capitalize on his experience and exploit New Orleans’ defense for easy offensive opportunities.

On the season Siakam is currently averaging 18.7 points, 9 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game on 39 percent shooting from the field. That is roughly 4 points under his scoring totals from last season. In order for Toronto to be a contending team, Siakam needs to perform better.

Although the Raptors won without Siakam, that doesn’t mean they are a better team without the All-Star. However, it does indicate that Toronto doesn’t need Siakam to win. It creates a window of opportunity for Pascal to be attached in a trade for another star, possibly the likes of a James Harden.

Next. Toronto Raptors: Things to watch for against New Orleans Pelicans. dark

The Raptors will only be able to go as far as Pascal Siakam can take them. This upcoming game against the Pelicans will display the type of player Siakam is. Although it’s still early in the season, this is potentially the biggest game for Pascal Siakam this year.