Pascal Siakam has become one of the most prolific transition scorers this season for the Toronto Raptors
One of the most exciting young players currently in the NBA is 24-year-old Pascal Siakam. He has been a revelation for the Toronto Raptors.
The 6-foot-9, Cameroon-born basketball player is averaging 15.6 points per game. However, he has been on a hot streak recently. Putting up even better numbers. For example, he dropped a career-high 44 points against the Washington Wizards this week. It was the fourth time he has scored at least 28 points in a game since January 1.
He started just five games for the Raptors last season. But this year, he is an early favorite for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. He was a fringe All-Star candidate who even took home the NBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Week award in November 2018.
Before the season began, he was receiving comparisons to Golden State’s Draymond Green due to his ability to perform at a high level in transition.
Back in October 2018, the forward told Sportsnet’s Michael Grange that he can “blow by a lot of people” that guard him. The confidence he showed in his own explosiveness has proven to be correct — as Siakam has had very little trouble dominating in a fast tempo offense.
Now, with Siakam’s help, Toronto has the third-best transition offence in the NBA. The Raptors average 17.3 points per game on fast breaks, which leads all Eastern Conference teams.
Siakam has scored 281 points in transition so far this season. That ranks seventh overall among all players in the NBA. Among those in the East, he trails just Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bradley Beal.
The forward showed his effectiveness in transition last season too, averaging 1.27 PPP. This ranked Top 15 (minimum: 100 possessions) when examining other high-volume contributors.
But he finished just 1.8 possessions per game on this play type. This year, that has more than doubled. Siakam is currently finishing 3.8 possessions per game in transition. The coaching staff has entrusted him to run the court with the ball more often.
“They’ve done a great job of letting me be me, and playing my game and being the type of player I am and using all of my strengths and giving me a position out there on the floor to do what I do best. It’s a credit to them and that obviously helps the confidence, not looking over your shoulder knowing that when you’re out there, you’re out there, and you have to make plays and they trust you.” Pascal Siakam
His blend of speed, athleticism and dribbling ability allows him to roll by his defenders and score without help from his teammates.
However, perhaps most impressive is his ability to pull down a rebound, take the ball the length of the court and then create his own basket.
Only 43 per cent of his field goals have come from assists. According to ‘Cleaning the Glass’, that ranks in the 89th percentile among all bigs in the league.
Siakam is able to shine on fastbreaks, throws down some absolutely gorgeous dunks that can demoralize an opponent.