The matchup of star big men between Toronto Raptors stud Pascal Siakam and Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo was going to go a long way in determining who was going to come out on top in Thursday night’s primetime matchup. On the back of a dominant game by Siakam, Toronto pulled out a 110-96 win.
Siakam, who came into this contest averaging 24.4 points on 47% shooting, 7.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.7 steals per game since a January 29 loss against Sacramento, remained white-hot. Siakam scored 27 points while pulling down six rebounds and dishing out five assists, combining with Norman Powell to lead a fantastic offensive performance.
While ESPN analyst and former Celtics center Kendrick Perkins is going to say what is on his mind no matter the situation, he appears to be all-in on Siakam, claiming that he actually compares favorably to Antetokounmpo in one key area.
Perkins claims that Siakam is a more skilled player when compared to Giannis. While it would be silly to declare Siakam a better player than a two-time MVP, it’s not unreasonable to claim that Siakam can create off the dribble at a more efficient clip than the Greek Freak.
Pascal Siakam played well against Giannis Antetokounmpo
Siakam’s 27 came in a complete offensive performance, as he was able to rise up from beyond the 3-point line, use his speed and quickness inside to twist into the lane for easy baskets, and finish off some looks in transition. Giannis was a few assists shy of a triple-double, but he shot just 8-20 from the field, turned the ball over five times, and fouled out.
While common logic would dictate that Nick Nurse moving Siakam to the center position could limit his offensive creativity, it’s actually allowed him to use his stellar face-up game, put the ball on the floor, and look to distribute. Given how well he’s played on both ends of the floor against Giannis over the last few games, Siakam deserves every ounce of praise being heaped on him.
Defining what “skilled” means is a losing battle given how nebulous a term that is, but Siakam has already proven to be a better shooter. With the ability to distribute and handle the ball, Perkins’ claim is by no means outlandish.
Giannis might have the pedigree, accolades, and a larger reservoir of raw talent. However, Siakam proved in consecutive games that he can lock horns with Antetkounmpo and come out on top. If Siakam keeps playing like this, and the standings force these two to play against one another in the postseason, the Raptors should feel confident about their chances.