Pascal Siakam: The Remarkable Burgeoning of a Superstar

(Chris Szagola/AP)

Pascal Siakam: The Remarkable Burgeoning of a Superstar

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Pascal Siakam: The Remarkable Burgeoning of a Superstar

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As crazy as the title may seem, yes, in fact Pascal Siakam is developing into a superstar. He’s thrived with an unconventional style of play from the aesthetically pleasing point of view but the production speaks for itself. Through an early five games, Spicy P is averaging 25 PPG, 9 RPG, and 8 APG on 57% true shooting. 

While the efficiency isn’t coming in at a superstar level, the way Siakam is shifting defenses to defend him is game breaking and it’s giving the Raptors a big leg up on offense. Siakam is further developing counters to his game which is elevating his offensive game to a new level. Let’s analyze what’s made Siakam such a dynamic do-it-all threat in three of Toronto’s first five games.

Three Point Shooting (Off the Catch) 

So far this season , Pascal Siakam has hit 35.7% of his threes at a modest five attempts per game through as many games. Not too shabby considering Siakam came into the NBA a non-shooter and has steadily been growing into a meaningful threat from downtown. What’s elevated the three point percentage in 2022 is his ridiculously hot hand off the catch. 

Siakam is hitting his catch and shoot jumpers at a 42% clip according to nba.com. Is this an unsustainable rate? Probably, but even if the number dips Siakam will still be far above his 36.5% C&S rate from last season. The growth was there and so perhaps is even some extended range as seen in clip two. If Siakam can keep his C&S rate above 40% then this will only boost his value off the ball. 

What can catapult Siakam’s threat away from the ball even more is the ability to hit C&S threes off movement. In the first clip, the Raptors run a BOLB (baseline out of bounds) play for Siakam to first bump Scottie Barnes’ man in Ben Simmons then curl around Barnes screen for a corner three. Simmons’ extra effort to contest results in Siakam taking a foul and making the shot a four point play opportunity. 

In the second clip, Siakam is roaming around the baseline from one dunker spot to the other. Fred VanVleet gets downhill as the pick and roll ball handler and Siakam first screens Joe Harris. This is a high IQ play from Siakam because Harris’ task is to defend the weakside corner shooter in OG Anunoby. By setting a pin-in screen on Harris, Siakam is opening up a potential corner three. It doesn’t result in one because VanVleet is crowded hard on the ball and there’s too much congestion in the lane. But it’s still an example of the right kind of process Siakam has his mind on. From there, Siakam follows VanVleet dribble pattern and cuts up from elbow to the left wing. Most players would stop after setting the screen but Siakam relentless off ball movement results in him canning an open three. 

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