The Toronto Raptors finally got to see Pascal Siakam get the attention he deserves last year, as he was rewarded with an All-NBA selection in a year that started off with him having a bum shoulder. Siakam may not have been an All-Star, but he was Toronto’s best player.
Siakam averaged 22.8 points per game, which was fractions off his career-best mark. He also set new records in rebounds (8.5), assists (5.3), and steals (1.3) per game. Even in a career with an All-Star nod and an NBA championship, Siakam uncorked his finest NBA campaign to date.
Sustaining that level of play is going to be a challenge. With an entire season of tape out there for the viewing public, teams will spend most of their practice sessions figuring out how to slow him down specifically. As he goes, so do the Raptors.
What can we expect out of Siakam now that OG Anunoby is expected to be healthy and Scottie Barnes will begin transforming into the team’s franchise player? Even if Siakam is unable to be precisely as gaudy from a points per game perspective this season, his improvement in other areas should be expected to continue.
Pascal Siakam will lead the Toronto Raptors in 2022-23.
Siakam might not score as much as he did last year, and that is through no fault of his own. With Barnes ready to eat up more shots, Anunoby’s desire to be more involved in the offense, and the addition of bench reinforcements like Otto Porter Jr, Siakam’s volume will decrease.
Where Siakam can help sustain his value is by being even more dominant as a rebounder and facilitator. Getting 10 rebounds per game is a lofty goal, but there’s a non-zero chance he reaches it. Siakam will be the starting center again, but he should be more familiar with that role and ready to assert himself down low.
With the backup point guard role still wide open, Siakam will likely get a shot at orchestrating the second unit. 5.3 assists per game should fall by the wayside this season.
Imagine if Siakam puts together a season that is relatively similar to last year and the Raptors make the postseason once again. All-NBA and All-Star nods should be a lock, even in an Eastern Conference that saw many fringe teams get significantly better in the offseason.
While Fred VanVleet was exceptional last season, Siakam has looked like he is a cut above when he is at his peak. Very few in the league can do all the things he can while maintaining efficiency and leading an underdog to upset wins with regularity. One more All-NBA campaign will make his status as a star beyond reproach.