2. Pascal Siakam
The Raptors were given multiple opportunities to give up on their Siakam-led core, as multiple teams tried to trade for one of the best players in the league with just one year left on his current contract. Ujiri’s hardheaded nature and Siakam’s refusal to extend if traded eventually killed all that speculation.
Siakam is finally starting to get the respect he deserves after getting an All-NBA nod and All-Star selection in consecutive seasons. Even in a stagnant, vanilla half-court offense that saw him get surrounded by minimal quality shooters, Siakam continues to take games over and pull out wins by himself.
The Toronto Raptors are dependent on Pascal Siakam.
Rajakovic will likely try to put his own spin on the Raptors’ offense, but he also needs to get out of Siakam’s way and let him cook. Freed from the exhausting minutes burden Nick Nurse put on him, a well-rested Siakam could provide more consistent excellence and efficiency.
While the future surrounding Siakam is quite uncertain, fans should instead appreciate him while he is here. If this is his swan song in Toronto, which is far from a guarantee at this point, fans should be all-in on a Siakam-led Raptors team going as far as the Cameroonian star can take them.