Raptors

Is Siakam NBA’s Most Overlooked Star?

on

When people talk about who’s their favorite NBA player is, most people drop the usual names.

LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry. Others might go for not the best player in the world, but up-and-coming talent like Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo or Trae Young among others.

When I get asked that question, the first player that comes to mind is Pascal Siakam. People say he’s overrated, but he’s actually underrated.

This is where most casual fans say “Who is he? What has he accomplished in the NBA?”.

Most of them forget he won a championship with Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors back in 2019. He was usually their second or third scoring option behind Leonard and Kyle Lowry.

He shined in a few big games, most notably in the 2019 Finals. In Game 1, Siakam finished with 32 points and shot 14-17 from the field.

https://twitter.com/NBATV/status/1134304508190703616?s=20

WHERE IT ALL STARTED

Pascal Siakam started his journey to basketball very late. He was born and raised in Cameroon, where initially it was his brothers getting NCAA scholarships.

It was really until he met Luc Mbah a Moute — a former NBA player from Bafia — two miles from where Siakam grew up, was when Siakam took more of an interest in basketball. Siakam attended Mbah a Moute’s camp, and even with basically no basketball experience, was selected to attend the Basketball Without Borders camp.

The camp was led by Masai Ujiri, President of Basketball Operations for the Toronto Raptors. Siakam was gaining attention around the time for his effort and noticeable athleticism.

Ujiri praised Siakam, saying his effort was “memorable.

When Siakam turned eighteen, he decided to leave Cameroon to better his skills at basketball in the United States. He spent his final year at God’s Academy, a prep school in Texas before going to New Mexico State University.

Siakam was underrated by many scouts. That’s when the Ujiri-led Raptors selected Siakam 27th overall in the 2016 NBA Draft.

HOW IS HIS NBA CAREER…so far?

Siakam didn’t really play a whole lot in his rookie year. He started the first 35 games before he was assigned to the G League (known as the D-League at the time) to play for the Raptors 905. 905 alumni include Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, Jakob Poeltl and many others.

  • While with the 905, Siakam won the D-League championship and was named D-League Finals MVP, averaging 23 points and nine rebounds per game in that series.
  • He became a good role player for the team during his second season, averaging 7.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.

Then he drastically improved in his third season.

While adding a superstar will help everyone on the roster, Siakam averaged 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists per contest, earning himself the NBA’s Most Improved Player award in 2019.

Since then, while the Raptors consider going into “rebuild mode”, Siakam continues to improve his game, jumping from 16.9 to 22.9 points per game and notching his first All-Star appearance in 2020. The Raptors didn’t have a good year in 2021, but Siakam continued his progression in other areas (FT%, AST).

https://twitter.com/NBACanada/status/1478091180495749124?s=20

SO HOW IS SIAKAM UNDERRATED?

Siakam has already won an NBA championship, gone to an All-Star game, and won Most Improved Player, but people are still sleeping on him. People are trying to say Siakam isn’t a top-20 player in the league yet. To those people I’d say okay, but his progression speaks for itself.

LeBron James and Kevin Durant have played basketball since they were little. Siakam didn’t played organized basketball until he was eighteen. He’s now just entering his prime at 27 years old. He hasn’t even played basketball consistently for 10 years yet.

Siakam is now just entering his prime at 27 years old. Despite missing the first few weeks of the season, he’s still playing top basketball, averaging 20.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game.

His consistent improvement combined with his accomplishments already is why he’s a top-20 player in the league and why he remains one if not the most overlooked star in the association.

About Skylar McCarthy

Recommended for you

Powered by themekiller.com