The Toronto Raptors may not be imminently trading Pascal Siakam, especially after they reportedly turned down a very enticing package from the Atlanta Hawks, but they should still do some planning for life without Pascal. Without an extension, Siakam will be eyed by almost every team in the league.
The Raptors already saw one of the last vestiges of their championship era flake away when Fred VanVleet joined the Houston Rockets, and Siakam might be on the verge of a departure if the Raptors are unable to lock him down. The roster would be thrown into complete disarray if that happened.
Toronto has a core that will impress some. Scottie Barnes has some legitimate high-end potential as a gravitational leading man, and the addition of Gradey Dick could eventually help the Raptors land one of the best shooters in the game. Gary Trent Jr. and OG Anunoby are still knocking around.
However, if Siakam were to leave, the hierarchy of this team would be thrown into utter chaos. Who would be the best player on the team if Siakam decided to bolt Toronto? Would they be viewed as contenders in the long term with any one of their current players leading the charge?
Who would be the Toronto Raptors’ best player without Pascal Siakam?
Barnes will likely be empowered to take on an enhanced role with Siakam gone, as the Raptors will officially have turned the page and given him the keys to the care. However, given the fact that his scoring flatlined last season, is he capable of taking such a momentous leap forward under Darko Rajakovic?
Trent was the team’s third-leading scorer behind Siakam and Fred VanVleet last season, and a new offensive-minded coach like Darko Rajakovic will likely turn to him quite frequently on a shooting-challenged team. At the same time, a team with Trent as their top scorer might not go very far.
Anunoby taking on a bigger makes sense in theory, but the defensive ace has constantly underwhelmed when asked to be more of a creative scorer in the past. The Raptors also need to make sure he doesn’t bolt after one more season, which would consign them to the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
The Raptors may have a collection of B+ players at their disposal, but it could be hard for them to show any sort of hope or capacity for winning in the postseason without an A talent like Siakam. Fans need to hope Barnes is everything the front office thinks he can be.