The Toronto Raptors’ fanbase was left in a state of complete shock over Pascal Siakam getting snubbed from the All-Star game. Averaging a tick under 25 points per game with more than eight rebounds and six assists per contest should have been a one-way ticket to Salt Lake City.
Instead, Siakam was passed over while names like Julius Randle and DeMar DeRozan got an invite to the 2023 festivities. Siakam has been good lately, but his comparative inefficiency in this stretch has led many to deem it a slump. This likely weighed heavily on the minds of voters.
Nick Nurse and Masai Ujiri have been very open about the fact that Siakam is driving the Raptors’ bus. However, the way they constructed this team around him may have inadvertently led to his recent struggles and omission from this very select team.
Siakam’s efficiency and scoring since January started are below his season averages, as he’s amassing just 21 points per game since January 14. The physical burden of carrying a team that lacks point guards, rim protectors, and a bench is taking a toll on him. Nurse and Ujiri should be held accountable for this.
Toronto Raptors: Nick Nurse contributed to Pascal Siakam ASG snub
Even when the Raptors are victorious, like they were in their tussle with the Houston Rockets that should not have been that close, the vibes appear to be off by a ton. It’s hard to make the All-Star team when you play for such a lousy squad (except if you’re DeRozan, somehow).
Playing close to 40 minutes every night without getting the veteran rest days many stars are used to may seem like a testament to Siakam’s conditioning, but it’s starting to take a toll on him. All Ujiri and Nurse had to do was get him a veteran rim protector and collection of shooters in the offseason, and they failed.
As a result, his shooting percentage has started to dip at the worst time. Missing out on the All-Star game does not bode well for Siakam’s All-NBA prospects. If he is not named to that team for the second consecutive season, he will not become eligible for a supermax contract.
The All-Star Game is almost guaranteed to upset every fanbase that didn’t have their best player named, but Siakam’s exclusion has to sting. This could have been prevented if Nurse and Ujiri weren’t forced to work Siakam to the bone just to milk a few extra wins out of a team going nowhere.