1. PF Pascal Siakam
We are defenders of Siakam, as his elite interior scoring, defensive prowess, and skill at handling the ball often get lost under a tsunami of Twitter memes about his propensity for spinning on offense. However, like VanVleet, he’ll need to prove he can step up in the absence of Lowry.
VanVleet will take on the Lowry role, but Siakam will likely be tasked with leading this team in scoring again. He’s still got quite a hefty contract, and if he doesn’t take a step forward from an offensive perspective, some might start to question how much value Toronto is getting out of that deal.
Toronto Raptors: Pascal Siakam needs to silence the haters.
First, Siakam needs to recover from his surgery and avoid getting into any extra dust-ups with the coaching staff. Second, he needs to somehow get back to his All-NBA form, which is not an easy task given the competition in the East.
The Raptors are inexorably tied to Siakam, as most scenarios that feature him getting hypothetically traded away would be a precursor to a full-scale rebuild. If they want to rebuild on the fly and make a run at a postseason spot, they need to see more All-NBA Siakam and less Disney Bubble Siakam.