Last season looked like an obstacle course for the Raptors, especially for Pascal Siakam, who in addition to the forced move to Tampa and depressing results (27 wins in 72 games), ended it all with an injury to the shoulder.
His return this season was thus delayed, a bad for a good for him and his team, since the strong Toronto winger is now back at the top of his game, with a full stat line, and a debut. January thunderous, with 23.2 points, 9 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.8 interceptions on average over six games.
Even though the six-game winning streak came to an end against Phoenix, the Cameroonian drew congratulations from Suns coach Monty Williams, for whom the Raptors co-leader is back at his best.
“If you look at his stat line tonight, he’s 27 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. These are numbers of the caliber of an All-NBA player. He doesn’t just keep the ball, he finds his guys and that sort of thing. It’s a nightmare because when he takes the ball to the basket it’s just hard to stop. When you put little guys on him he’ll go higher, and when you put a taller guy he’ll outstrip them. It’s a nightmare for the coaches and the players in the league ”, explained the coach of the Suns.
Precious when Fred VanVleet is taken in a club
One of the only points of satisfaction last season for Pascal Siakam was the improvement in his passing direction, materialized by a 2020/21 exercise with 4.5 assists, his career record which he confirms on this start. season (4.6 passes). Better, Pascal Siakam is transformed by sequences into leader, especially when Fred VanVleet is on the bench, a “process” that Nick Nurse has also applied to Scottie Barnes this season.
» I like it. I remember when I arrived people always laughed at me when I said I didn’t want to be a traditional interior. I have worked and I have the impression that the more I have experience with basketball, the more I get better « , underlined the interested.
More generally, this creative ability helps the team, even when Fred VanVleet is on the pitch.
« It reminds me of the Milwaukee game where they cut me off and I gave the ball to Pascal to let them play 4-on-4 », explained FVV. “We try to give him more space and opportunities, because he’s really hard to defend in 1-on-1. We help each other. The fact that he’s more of a creator and that he has the ball in hand helps my offensive play. It sets the tone. It was envisioned that things would turn out that way. It is important for our team. As leaders, we have to be efficient ”.
On this point, the tandem has clearly shown the example. The next step to improve Nick Nurse’s collective will be a five-game road trip (Detroit, Milwaukee, Miami, Dallas and Washington).