The Toronto Raptors struck gold in the 2016 NBA Draft. While they used the No. 9 pick on Jakob Poeltl rather than one of the many All-Stars show went after, using the 27th overall pick on New Mexico State star Pascal Siakam helped the Raptors add one of their most reliable franchise cornerstones.
Siakam has averaged 15.7 points per game (including 22.4 points per game in the last three years) while making All-NBA twice and nabbing one All-Star nomination. For a player who has only been an unquestioned starter for the previous four years, that’s a solid resume.
Siakam is not only one of the best players in his draft class, but he has a legitimate claim to the title of the unquestioned top dog out of this group. Very few players in the league have his combination of individual accolades and postseason success at this stage of his career.
Is he the best player from the 2016 Draft? Would he have been in a Philadelphia 76ers jersey if they had the power of clairvoyance all those years ago? If he’s not No. 1, he at least has to be in the top three given his long list of accomplishments.
Is Toronto Raptors star Pascal Siakam the best player from 2016?
The top 10 players in this draft are as follows. Unless you think Jakob Poeltl or Malik Beasley should be here, the top 10 (listed by order of selection) seems pretty set in stone.
- Ben Simmons (No. 1)
- Brandon Ingram (No. 2)
- Jaylen Brown (No. 3)
- Buddy Hield (No. 6)
- Jamal Murray (No. 7)
- Domantas Sabonis (No. 11)
- Caris LeVert (No. 20)
- Pascal Siakam (No. 27)
- Dejounte Murray (No. 29)
- Malcolm Brogdon (No. 36)
If you want to separate these players into tiers, the lowermost level would consist of LeVert, Brogdon, and Hield. All of them are fantastic scorers who can be role players on a winning team, but anyone who decides to make them a featured offensive option could regret that move.
The middle tier is occupied by both Murray guards in addition to Sabonis. These players are deserving All-Stars, but they have yet to prove their skills in the postseason. Sabonis and Dejounte both have All-Star nods to their name, but those numbers came on some also-ran teams.
This makes a top tier of Simmons, Brown, Siakam, and Ingram. While Brown has been a rock-solid Robin to Jayson Tatum’s Batman and Ingram helped lead the Pelicans to the playoffs, Siakam’s combination of statistical dominance and All-NBA pedigree alongside Fred VanVleet puts him firmly above those two.
While Simmons hasn’t played in a year, he’s one of the best defensive players in the league when healthy despite the three-time All-Star’s numerous offensive flaws. He’s the only player who could challenge Siakam for that top spot right now.
Even if Siakam is not No. 1 overall in your mind, the fact that Masai Ujrii found a Top 3 player in the draft at No. 27 overall speaks to his scouting eye and ability to develop talent.