Last season, the Toronto Raptors won the NBA championship and took by storm the playoffs, after the “Shot” of Kawhi Leonard against the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Semi Finals.
Winning the title for the first time in the history of the association is remaining the most important outcome from the last season, but the resurgence of Pascal Siakam is also vital, mainly for the future of the Toronto Raptors.
In the 2019 Playoffs, the forward from Cameroon had “all-star” caliber performances averaging 19 points, 7.2 rebound and 2.8 assists per game.
Siakam thrived under the pressure and signed a max-contract extension according to what his agents, Todd Ramasar and Jafaar Choufani, told to ESPN.
That will make make him the third player from the 2016 class(the other two are Ben Simmons and Jamal Murray) that will sign a new deal, before the expiration of his rookie-scale contract.
Also, that will make him the second players of the Raptors, who will receive a contract extension this year, after Kyle Lowry.
Many will see in Siakam the aspiration of becoming a legit all-star this season and there are good reasons for that.
Firstly, he is a great ball-handler for his size. Last year he was having the ball in his hands in a 10.5% frequency(1.5% in 2017-2018) per game on 7+ dribbles range, while having a frequency of a 24.2% in the 3-6 dribbles range per contest.
Furthermore, he added range to his game, he shot in a 36.9% clip the previous season, while he was attempting about 3 three-pointers per game.
He nearly doubled his productivity from the arc(1.6 attempts per game in 2017-2018) and mastered the way of attacking the opponent’s close-outs in the perimeter finishing most of his attempts around the basket(64.3% of his points came from the restricted area).
The rapid improvement of his game is remarkable as he started to play basketball at the age of 16 and right now, he is going to sign a 130$ million extension, while he earned just 4$ million in the first four seasons of his career as the 27th pick of the 2016 Draft.
Now, after Kawhi Leonard departure, it’s his time to shine and become the next “max” guy, who will try to lead the Toronto Raptors to another title, eventually.