Winner: Pascal Siakam
Siakam’s defense is better than most will give him credit for, but the value in his defense lies in how he can defend multiple positions. Lining up at the center spot and forcing him to lock down names like Joel Embiid was likely not the most sustainable way to set Toronto up for success.
Koloko is not going to be a sure thing in the NBA, but he should at the very least be a nuisance on the defensive end, given all of the physical tools he brings to the table. Getting Koloko a steady diet of minutes could help push Siakam back to his more natural power forward position.
Raptors’ draftee Christian Kolokom may help Pascal Siakam.
While plenty of attention was paid to All-Star Fred VanVleet and the attrition he started to show in the later parts of the season, Toronto must be extraordinarily prudent in managing Siakam’s load. The last thing they need is both of their star players being forced to carry his burden.
Finding someone as robust yet mobile as the 7-1 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in the second round had to make Ujiri jump for joy. Koloko won’t cut into Siakam’s playing time, but he will help the Raptors avoid running him into the ground in the middle of the season.