Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam could be in for a big leap forward this season, as he’s already drawing comparisons to Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green.
While already known as a strong and switchable defender, his offense showed flashes of promise. Siakam averaged 19.4 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists per 36 minutes during the preseason for the Raptors. His assist percentage was among the best when looking at all qualified power forwards in preseason games.
Brian Windhorst noted how excited folks are about his potential emergence heading into the regular season (via ESPN):
“My jaw hit the floor watching Pascal Siakam… He blew me away… I’d heard from some scouts: ‘Guys, he’s out there playing like Draymond Green.’ He’s out there picking balls off the rim, taking them all the way up the court and going all the way to the rim. And I’m telling you he went at Anthony Davis several times and scored on him.”
He was remarkable in transition, averaging 1.31 points per possession in the preseason, per Synergy Sports. Siakam was 7-for-10 (70.0 percent) on these opportunities, which was better than all but five players who had at least as many attempts during the exhibition games.
The forward showed his effectiveness in transition last season, averaging 1.27 PPP. This ranked Top 15 (minimum: 100 possessions) according to Synergy. He also notched 41 assists in transition last season but is expected to solidify that type of role this season.
Michael Grange recently wrote about how Toronto expects to utilize Siakam like this more often moving forward, also comparing him to the Golden State forward (via SportsNet.CA):
“Like Siakam, Green didn’t start out as a ‘point power forward’ but he hit his stride in his third season and the Warriors have benefited ever since. The Raptors can only hope Siakam – who went from 0.7 assists per 36 minutes as a rookie to 3.4 in his second season — can bring a little bit of Green’s skill to their lineup.”
While even Grange mentioned how it’s far too early to compare him to Green, the way they impact the game as both scorers and distributors while they are in transition cannot go unnoticed.