How can Raptors save their season by getting Pascal Siakam back on track


Toronto Raptors ahead Pascal Siakam is among the extra versatile gamers within the NBA. His size permits him to protect a number of positions, and his capability to create a shot on the fly has turn out to be an asset for Toronto. The Cameroonian native was an All-Star within the common season after his postseason heroics final season, however he’s struggling to discover a rhythm within the NBA’s bubble advanced.

A number of Siakam’s postseason woes could be credited to his opponents, plus the truth that Kawhi Leonard is now not there to take stress off of him. Groups are making a pointed effort to clamp down on Siakam because the No. 1 choice, which forces different gamers, reminiscent of Kyle Lowry, to raise their sport much more. This technique has labored properly for the Boston Celtics, who may have the chance to eradicate the Raptors in Recreation 6.

Siakam has been off the mark within the bubble. In 16 video games performed there, he has shot 40.Four p.c from the sector and 28.Three p.c on 3-pointers. In Toronto’s 9 playoff video games, he has shot 41.1 p.c from the sector and 21.Three p.c from downtown. Thanks largely to strong protection from Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Sensible, Siakam is taking pictures simply 15.Four p.c on 3-pointers (4-for-26) in Toronto’s sequence towards Boston, they usually’ve performed an awesome job taking away his patented spin transfer on drives to the basket.

For a little bit of perspective, Siakam shot 45.Three p.c from the sector within the common season and 35.9 p.c from deep.

Siakam was nice in final 12 months’s playoffs, serving to his workforce win its first NBA championship. Now, with elimination knocking at his door after an unsightly Recreation 5 loss through which Siakam had simply 10 factors and 4 rebounds, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse is hoping his star ahead can rekindle that drive:

“I’m unsure he’s been in nice rhythm because the restart,” Nurse stated of Siakam, by way of Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY Sports activities. “It’s too unhealthy as a result of he was spectacular in final 12 months’s playoffs and he was spectacular all season lengthy. We nonetheless have some video games to play. Hopefully, he can get his rhythm.”

Raptors coach Nick Nurse laments Pascal Siakam’s play within the Bubble after Recreation 5 loss to Celtics: “I’m unsure why he’s been so out of rhythm. He hasn’t had a whole lot of nice video games. It’s too unhealthy as a result of he was spectacular in final 12 months’s playoffs and spectacular all 12 months lengthy.”

— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) September 8, 2020

So, what can the Raptors do to get Siakam again on observe? His teammate, Kyle Lowry, recommended extra pick-and-roll units, which might result in mismatch alternatives and getting Siakam simpler seems each across the basket and from the surface. Fred VanVleet had comparable sentiments, however he additionally famous that he must do a greater job of discovering Pascal on the court docket:

“We’ve bought to have a look at the movie to see how we will get him going early, put him in higher spots and attempt to assist him,” VanVleet stated, by way of USA TODAY. “As some extent guard, I’ve bought to do a greater job of placing him place to succeed so he’s not working so exhausting for each bucket. Give them credit score. They’re placing a whole lot of consideration on him and making it exhausting for him.”

If the Raptors are to win one other NBA title, they’ll want Pascal Siakam to rise to the event. He’s probably the most essential items of the workforce, with the power to affect a sport together with his uncooked expertise. Let’s see if he solutions the proverbial bell, which can be much more essential if Serge Ibaka can’t go on account of an ankle damage suffered in Recreation 5. Ibaka has been a significant contributor off the bench for Toronto, so much more stress can be on Siakam if his fellow massive man can’t play.

Recreation 6 between the Raptors and Celtics is about to tip contained in the bubble advanced at 6:40 p.m. ET on Wednesday evening. ESPN may have dwell broadcast protection.

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