While the Toronto Raptors fell in defeat in their first In Season Tournament game against the mighty Boston Celtics, Pascal Siakam is not the reason why. Siakam continued to show that even with all the problems around him, he is still one of the best in the game.
Darko Rajakovic’s club found themselves in a 16-point hole at halftime after Siakam sat out the entire second quarter due to foul trouble. Siakam tied the game and brought it down to the final possession, but a missed 3-pointer ultimately sent Toronto to 5-7.
One offensive tweak that Rajakovic made in the second half was to let Siakam be himself in the post and use his finishing skills close to the basket. Pascal himself seems to be firmly in favor of leaning in with that strategy, as he believes he can’t be stopped down in the post.
Siakam believes that he is one of the best in the league at his position in that situation, and there isn’t a ton of evidence to suggest otherwise. Giving Siakam the ball and getting out of his way might be the most immediate fix to all of Toronto’s offensive issues.
Toronto Raptors’ Pascal Siakam believes he can’t be stopped in the post.
Perhaps the most effective way for the Raptors to score points is to let Siakam go to work in post-up situations. This is undoubtedly a more effective way to use one of the most talented forwards in the league than using him as an off-ball cutter like he =was early in the season.
Even though Siakam’s scoring is down below 20 points per game, his per 36-minute stats show that his rebounds and assists per game are almost identical to last year. His field goal percentage is identical to his career averages and right on with what he’s done in the last few years.
The Raptors have tried to give Scottie Barnes a runway to dominate, and the results have been very encouraging. However, when the chips were down, and the Raptors needed one player to help lead a comeback charge, Siakam stepped up. Trading him makes sense, but Toronto would lose nights like this.
Being underrated and playing in Toronto is nothing new, but Siakam and OG Anunoby have been two of the best players in the league who still get slapped with that dubious tag. Don’t let Barnes’ recent improvement fool you. Siakam is still playing very well on the offensive side of the ball after some early gear-grinding.