With Kyle Lowry now plying his trade for the Miami Heat, the Toronto Raptors will lean on the services of Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet to guide them in what could be a very unusual transition period. Playing in Toronto has helped make this pair one of the more underrated star duos in the game.
The Raptors have both of these players signed up for the next few seasons, as Siakam’s interior scoring and VanVleet’s two-way stardom were intriguing enough for Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster to designate them as not only two elite players in this league, but two foundational pieces for this franchise.
While Siakam looked like he was about to take the game by storm, a slight downturn in production last season helped knock him down a few pegs on all the top players in the NBA lists out there. VanVleet, on the other hand, continues to improve.
Siakam fell 14 spots in Sports Illustrated’s Top 100 players list, dropping down to No. 44 overall. While this is a bit disappointing for Toronto, VanVleet managed to jump up 11 spots to No. 46 overall. OG Anunoby was right behind him at No. 59 overall, which is a sign that the media believes the breakout is real.
Raptors stars Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet are Top 50 players
Siakam fell from his top 30 spot this season, as he failed to take the step forward that many expected. Even with an uneven 2020 in the past and a shoulder injury that will likely sideline him for the first few games of the season, the Raptors should have every confidence in Siakam’s ability to bounce back
Two former Raptors ranked just ahead of him, as Lowry came in at No. 40 and DeMar DeRozan ranked No. 42 overall. Knicks star Julius Randle clocked in at No. 41, with Jazz point guard Mike Conley right ahead of him at No. 43. Siakam will need to wait until 2022 to see if he can climb up this list.
VanVleet may have struggled with efficiency last year, but he’s proven he can get 20 points a night in this league. When that scoring skill is paired with elite perimeter defense, it’s easy to see why the former Wichita State star is continuing to get more respect with each passing season.
The Raptors might not have the same glitz and glamour as some of the other star duos in the game, but Siakam and VanVleet are still considered top 50 players with Anunoby right behind them. Is that bedrock good enough to get them into the postseason?