Why Pascal Siakam is a future NBA Superstar
By Benedict Agyei | April 30, 2019 | CALGARY, AB
Pascal Siakam’s story is fascinating, really. The 6’9 Cameroonian took on basketball just 7 years ago at the age of 17, after attending Luc Mbah Moute’s “Basketball without borders camp.” 7 years later, he’s the starting power forward on one of the league’s premier teams, the frontrunner for the NBA’s most improved player, and averaging over 23 points per game in just his third playoff appearance. Who could’ve foreseen this for that same 6’9 Cameroonian boy seven years ago? Nobody.
Pascal’s been awesome this season, no doubt about it. In the 2018-19 NBA season, Pascal posted averages of approximately 17 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. But, the numbers don’t tell anything near the full story for Pascal. Pascal is the literal definition of versatility, with the Raptors using him as a swiss-army knife on both offence and defence. He can do literally anything he’s asked of, even if that means extending his range to the three-point line from time-to-time.
Though Pascal’s epic breakout season has been great, it’s just a sign of greater things to come. Barring injuries, Pascal will be a multiple time all-star, an all-NBA recipient, and perhaps, even an MVP candidate one day. In this article, I will explain why I believe this to be true.
– Offensive Emergence & Potential
Since being drafted by the Toronto Raptors in 2016, Pascal’s offensive game has evolved. Though he already boasted the reputation of an elite defender, offensively, there were a lot of holes in Pascal’s game. Especially his jump-shot. But since, Pascal has developed a nice mid-range touch, and a little bit of three-point shot. If you happen not to believe me, Pascal shoots around 47% from 3-16 feet, and 44% from 16 feet to the 3 point line, all numbers that are comparable (or better) to NBA superstar and former Raptor DeMar DeRozan. Who’s known for his elite mid-range game. With these statistics, of course, we have to account for volume.
Pascal shoots barely any shots from 10 feet to the three-point line making it easier to shoot a high %, while DeMar shoots a much higher volume from that distance. But, Pascal shoots around 30% of his shots from 3-10 feet, while DeMar only shots only 23% of his shots from the same distance. Despite Pascal shooting a higher volume from 3-10 feet, the two shoot an equal percentage. Pascal may not be a sharpshooter from three (37% on 3 attempts per game) but he certainly is a threat from the mid-range, and is a solid three-point shooter who will make you pay if you happen to sag off. Especially from the corner.
As a finisher, Pascal is nothing short of elite. Pascal drives to the basket at a super high rate, with nearly 7 per game, and he makes good use of these drives, as he converts them at a league high with nearly 70% (min. 5 attempts). Pascal uses not only his elite jumping ability, but also his speed to get within three feet, where he converts 72% of his shots. This is not only his most frequent shot, but also his most efficient.
Offensively, Pascal is most dangerous when on the fast break. When Pascal, or any other Raptor catches a defensive rebound, Pascal’s role is to run. He uses his elite speed, and 36 inch vertical to pull down defensive rebounds, and when he does, he’ll usually give it to whatever point guard is on the court. But from time to time, Pascal will take it coast to coast for easy layups, dunks and sometimes kick-outs to the open shooter. When Pascal isn’t in a position to grab the defensive rebound, he’ll sometimes run to the opposing teams basket to get the easy two points.
By mixing his impressive efficiency with his length and athleticism — Pascal has improved offensively in every single aspect.
– Defensive Prowess
As raw as Pascal was when first drafted, defensively he was, and still is a stud. Standing at 6’9, 229 lbs, Siakam is a perfect model of how every big-man should defend. Siakam can guard all five positions with ease. His lateral quickness and length allow him to cover guards on the perimeter, while his 7’3 wingspan allows him to guard fellow bigs better than most. Similar to how the Raptors use Siakam on offence, Siakam is a swiss-army knife on defence as well. The Raptors have certainly enjoyed Siakam’s versatility on defence, as you can find him guarding the opponents point guard, center or anything else in between.
Siakam can lock up any position, so it doesn’t really matter what position you play him at on defence. Because no matter what, Siakam will ensure that his opponent doesn’t get an easy basket. And the statistics back that up.
- DWS – 3.5 (0.4 less then Rudy Gobert’s dpoy season)
- Ranks first amongst all Raptors in defensive net rating
- 1.3 DWS (ranks 2nd amongst all Raptors)
- With Siakam on the court, the Raptors are a +10.9
- Siakam’s on/off court ratio is a + 13.9
- Siakam’s matchups shoot just 38% when guarded by him
These statistics show that Siakam play’s great defence and it’s impacted the Raptors in several ways.
– Unlimited Potential
“He’s really developed. Give him a lot of credit, give the staff a lot of credit — he’s come back better every year. He’s right there. If he keeps playing like this, he’s a 2020 all-star,” Brooks said. “We tried a few different things [to limit Siakam.] But his ability to create in the open floor and his ability to spin-off of players and finish around the basket is pretty Good.” – Scott Brooks after a Wizards loss in Toronto
Siakam has all the physical tools to become a star in this league. here are some of them:
- 36 inch vertical
- Very quick for his size
- 7’3 wingspan, 9 ft standing reach
- High stamina, never runs out of energy
Siakam has already used these tools to his advantage, and he’s improved every season of his career — who’s to say he won’t do so in the future?
As aforementioned, Siakam is as versatile as it can get. He can play from the 3-5, run the fast break, and guard every single position on defence. Siakam can do anything he’s asked of, and he’s only getting better. If all goes well, he’ll be an NBA superstar one day.
Thanks for reading!