In the latest episode of the Shoot or Pass podcast, the crew discusses where it is time for the Raptors to move on from Pascal Siakam as the first option.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies for Pascal Siakam as the first option for the Toronto Raptors in the bubble. While the defending champs are still contenders in the East, they are finding themselves in some trouble during the playoffs.
Siakam’s stats against the Celtics in 5 games? 15.8 ppg, 6.6 rbds, 2.8 asts with shooting splits of 40.5% FG and 15.4% from beyond the arch. First off, credit goes to the Boston Celtics, particularly Jaylen Brown, for playing a part in shutting the power forward from Cameroon down. But, the struggles for Siakam have been on display since the return of the NBA.
After Game 5, Nick Nurse expressed his concerns as well.
“I’m not sure why he’s been so out of rhythm since the restart. He hasn’t had a lot of great games,” said Nurse per Josh Lewenberg of The Sports Network. “It’s too bad because he was spectacular in last year’s playoffs & he was spectacular all season long. We still have games to go. Hopefully he can get his rhythm.”
Rhoby – SHOOT
We saw a glimmer of hope with his performance in Game 4 (23 points and 11 rebounds). However, Pascal Siakam’s stat line in Game 5 was not encouraging for the Raptors (10 points and 4 rebounds). He is not performing like a first option getting paid max contract dollars. His post-up game has mysteriously disappeared. He cannot create his own shot against elite defenders like Jaylen Brown. To add, his mid-range jumper is mediocre at the moment.
With that said, I still think the Raptors are contenders and have a chance to win it all. Or at least I can say I am still holding on to hope, for we have them as our NBA Champions in the 2020 NBA Playoffs Podcaster Bracket Challenge. I would feel way more confident if Pascal Siakam would make better decisions, score more points, and make better passes though.
Gabe – SHOOT
The best player on this Toronto Raptors team right now is Fred Van Vleet. Even in a losing effort, he was the highest scoring player for the team last night and is performing with most consistency throughout the playoffs. I do believe think Pascal Siakam has been the same player since after missing weeks of game time due to a groin injury. It certainly doesn’t help that Toronto’s bigs have been struggling as well, leaving the guards to do all the heavy lifting.
If Nick Nurse makes the decision to move on from Pascal Siakam as the team’s first option, should it be a permanent change? I am not sure. But, on nights Lowry and Van Vleet are shooting well, the big are struggling, and the two-manch is not being productive, he needs to be the guy to step to give them a fighting chance.
Chevy – PASS
Toronto does not have a true first option, that’s just the way this team is built. Based on what I have seen in the bubble, you are seeing a lot of Kyle Lowry or Fred Van Vleet finding open threes or taking pull-up threes in transition. And who can get forget how Game 3 ended? Kyle Lowry firing the ball over Tacko Fall to OG Anunoby who then nailed the spot-up three? At times, they are getting down the court and dumping the ball to Siakam in the post. I agree, his shot selections and success at the basket have been questionable. However, the Raptors do not rely on him solely as their first option.
I STAN PASCAL SIAKAM. I had the pleasure of watching dog my Orlando Magic in the first round of the playoffs last season. I was watching the games and asking myself, “WHO IS THIS GUY AND HOW IS HE MAN_HANDLING VUCEVIC?”
Needless to say, that made me gain a lot of respect for him. I hope he gets himself out of this rut before it is too late.