After missing the beginning of the season due to shoulder surgery recovery, Pascal Siakam reached a level as a scorer the Raptors hadn't seen before. Now he has a chance to add a new wrinkle that could pay further dividends for Toronto. Full podcast looking at most improved candidates and game-changing skill additions is on the 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast feed and on our YouTube channel.
AMIT MANN: But you think about what he could offer the Raptors' offense if he was able to be a steady 3-point shooter. He could work off the ball a little more. It's more like the help [? me, ?] help you-- "Jerry Maguire," Tom Cruise, right? Help [? me, ?] help you.
If you're a better 3-point shooter, Pascal, we can feed it out to you for catch-and-shoot 3's. That means OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes. Their post-ups are going to be much more effective because teams are like, oh, geez, we've got Pascal Siakam in that corner.
Or maybe he's above the break or whatever. And, hey, if he becomes, like, a-- if he's working the pick-and-roll, and he's able to [? catch ?] some pull-up 3's and stuff like that, now we're just getting kind of crazy. But that is where he's really gonna be able to get those attempts to, like, seven a game or something like that because he's gonna be trusted out there to hit those shots. And then I think that the Raptors will actually run more pick-and-roll, because, I mean, we all talk about, run more pick-and-roll, run more pick-and-roll.
They do need to, sure, but if teams are just gonna go under on those screens, then you're not really accomplishing too much, right? Because they're gonna leave Pascal and Scottie Barnes to try and take those shots. And then maybe they hit 1 of 5 or whatever it is, but the percentages aren't great. If he's good at those shots now, it opens up so much for the Raptors' offense.
So in some ways, last season, he was the hub of the Raptors' offense. And he, once again, is gonna be the reason why they hit a new level with their offense if he's able to be a better 3-point shooter. And I think he's gonna be able to do it too, which is gonna be very exciting. I want to see him average 25 points a game. I think that's very doable.
KATIE HEINDL: I like Pascal. But for me, I think, again, the caveat is he is improving every season. That's just the nature, I think, of who he is as an athlete and also what he means to the team. He should be improving every season.
AMIT MANN: Oh, yeah.
KATIE HEINDL: So even if we've kind of seen these great crescendos and plateaus, he'll still go to work on these little skills, whether they're just, like, specifics, as you said or just some kind of intangible stuff. Also, as the team changes, you want to see him change. I think a good thing to mention is probably that last season is when we saw him for the first time in a leadership role and how he grew into that and kind of embraced that.
Didn't always look the most comfortable with it, but I think, by the end of the season, understood the leadership style that he has and how that's a lot different than somebody like Fred VanVleet, for example. But just has grown much more comfortable in that and the way that he leads the younger players on the team, which is gonna be just as important this season.
AMIT MANN: Yeah. Still remember his face after game 5 when they got that big win in Philly, and he was walking towards the locker room. The Raptors [? opened ?] [? gym. ?] They got the clip.
He just had this serious, stoic look on his face. While other teammates were freaking out and they were chirping with the Philly fans, he was unfazed. And, granted, they lost game 6, but it's that mentality. It's the leadership through his emotions and how he approaches the game. That's how he's gonna get it done.