The Toronto Raptors may have had Scottie Barnes pick up a Rookie of the Year win, but Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet were the veteran leaders that made sure this team was able to compete. After Tuesday night’s ruling, both of Toronto’s star players can take home some accolades.
VanVleet became the first undrafted player in over a decade to be named an All-Star, but Siakam was barred from that team because some voters held the time he missed with a shoulder injury against him. The Cameroonian star spent the rest of the season exacting revenge on the voters.
Siakam was the unquestioned best player on a team that went from 12th in the East to fifth in the span of just one season. The leader of a 48-win group that gave the 76ers everything they could handle in the postseason deserved some sort of notoriety for his breakout season. The basketball gods were able to make this a reality for Siakam.
Siakam was officially named a Third-Team All-NBA performer this year, making it the second time in three seasons that he ended up in this exclusive club. Siakam averaged 22.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game in what was the best statistical season of his career.
Toronto Raptors star Pascal Siakam deserved All-NBA.
Siakam really turned the corner when 2022 started, as he averaged 23.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game from January 1 onwards. With 50/37/76 shooting splits and a pair of triple-doubles to go along with countless near-misses, Siakam was a bulldozer in the second half.
Only seven players in the league averaged 20/8/5 this season, and Siakam managed to do that while splitting shots with names like VanVleet and OG Anunoby for large chunks of the season. Despite all of the great names in Raptors history, no one else had a 20/8/5 season before Siakam.
Siakam received seven second-place votes and 42 third-place votes, meaning that he just barely snuck onto this team over Jimmy Butler. While Butler was on a better team, his time missed due to injury and Siakam’s second-half charge likely is what put him over the top in that battle. VanVleet also received one third-team vote.
After the Tampa sabbatical helped rip the Raptors out of the contending tier, some snarky NBA fans slandered Siakam and called his breakout run with the title-winning team a fluke. Those haters have to officially eat their words today, as Siakam is now confirmed to be one of the NBA’s best.