The Toronto Raptors were bombarded with trade rumors surrounding power forward Pascal Siakam, as teams around the league were trying to get one of the best players at his position in the league for pennies on the dollar after the selection of Scottie Barnes in the 2021 NBA Draft.
While the Raptors still view Siakam as a star and a long-term building block, he has seen some of his stock erode, as some missed shots near the end of close games and Toronto’s decline from a competitive perspective brought forth an avalanche of doubters and haters that went after him.
For someone who is such a positive and jovial presence in the locker room, seeing some within the NBA world turn on him had to be hard for someone like Spicy P. Ahead of a season in which he’ll be even more scrutinized due to Kyle Lowry’s departure, Siakam sounds at peace with what happened last year.
In a profile by Sopan Deb of the New York Times, Siakam, who admitted that he was initially frustrated with Toronto after his contract extension, is back to his old self and ready to help Toronto win.
Raptors star Pascal Siakam struggled with negative comments.
“I think it’s something that I’ll probably definitely struggle with,” Siakam said. “Because I’m like, ‘Damn.’ I’m such a positive person, the people that know me. People see my story, understand where I come from, and all the things that I’ve been able to achieve so far in my career. It has always been about positivity, right?”
Siakam might not have played like an All-NBA player last year, but he was still capable of averaging 21.4 points per game while setting a new career-high in assists per game and coming just shy of matching his rebounds per game average last year. Still, the Raptors declined in the standings, and Siakam got tagged with a ton of blame.
However, while teams like the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings would love to have a player of his caliber, the Raptors aren’t going to give in to the haters and ditch him. Siakam can still be “the man” for a playoff team, and they’ll give him every opportunity to prove that this year.
Siakam is only human, and if you saw a stream of negativity after putting up close to 30 points in a losing effort on a team that expected to make the playoffs, it would probably impact you too. Siakam appears to have come to terms with the naysayers, and he looks locked in as he tries to get the Raptors back to the postseason.