Despite a phenomenal two seasons with the Toronto Raptors across 2019 and 2020, which included a championship win as well as All-NBA Second Team honours, Pascal Siakam says he never really felt like “the guy” during that time. And after a disappointing run in 2021, probably even less so.
Of management’s role in his obvious disappointment, Siakam said he felt overall communication left much to be desired. And that this left him feeling a bit as if he didn’t quite know where he fit in.
During a recent interview with The New York Times, Siakam’s frustration with being overshadowed by point guard Kyle Lowry came through in a more than prominent way.
To Trade Or Not To Trade
But Siakam’s issues have now sorted themselves out in many ways. With Kyle Lowry leaving the Raptors for the Miami Heat in the off-season, there’s no longer the shadow of “the greatest Raptor of all time” hanging over him.
Even so, his absence has raised probably more challenges than solutions for the team. With the drafting of Scottie Barnes at No. 4 overall, which created a solid logjam at the forward position, the trade rumours involving Siakam have drawn a great deal of attention on the urgency side of things. Still – mere rumours they’ve remained.
But all things considered, as is practically always the case, Siakam’s position within the team will largely boil down to how he continues to perform as a player. Being the face of a team requires a great deal of effort and input, and in Siakam’s case, playing like he did in 2020 instead of what we saw form him this year so far.
Leading Won’t Come Easy
Not only will Siakam want to step it up a notch on the overall performance front, but he’ll also have to pay a great deal more attention to improving his skills as a driver.
Due to take the pressure off at least to some extent is Toronto’s upcoming move back home to Toronto after spending all their playing time in Tampa. But the fact remains: it’s an all-new franchise era for the Raptors, and anybody wanting to make their mark will have to do so now if that mark is to be lasting.
Leading a team like Toronto must be earned, and this includes the situation Siakam now finds himself in. If he wants to lead, he’ll have to earn it. Just like Kyle Lowry did before him.