RAPTORS ‘BLOG: Why is Siakam so polarizing for some?

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Pascal Siakam had a bad game against the Knicks on Friday. One of his worst ever. He missed 15 shots, including what would have been a dagger with 13.3 seconds left. As a result, the Raptors could have lost the game, if a Julius Randle three-pointer hadn’t been shaken up and eventually bounced back.

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Though he pulled off the decisive blow and had a great playoffs, helping to bring home the only Raptors title, followed by a monster season before the world changed, Siakam became a figure. polarizing for many. This is mainly due to the $ 129.9 million 4-year extension signed by Siakam a few years ago.

This is a criticism that I have never understood from fans who are outraged about what an athlete wins. It’s not your money, it’s MLSE’s. Siakam’s contract doesn’t stop the Raptors from doing anything, and he’s unlikely to do so in the future.

In professional sport, even in a cap system, we rarely regret having awarded big contracts to good players (not counting injuries here). You can’t get too much trouble even if you’re paying a little too much for good players. What cripples teams is when role players get wild free agency contracts (and worse yet, when players who don’t even see the floor get paid in full).

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By the time Scottie Barnes is maximum eligible, Siakam’s money will be off the books. OG Anunoby and Fred VanVleet are already long-term signed, as are others. So it’s not as if the Raptors would have been legally able to sign a star free agent if Siakam wasn’t around (and when did they sign a star free agent in their history anyway?).

Again, I don’t understand.

Many fans tend to judge a player by their contract. Expectations are completely out of whack. If a $ 30 million player posts numbers just below star level, many try to portray him as a bum. But if a $ 5 million or $ 10 million player has little or no impact, the spotlight is rarely on him.

Why?

Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam dunk the ball against the Portland Trail Blazers.  Getty Images
Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam dunk the ball against the Portland Trail Blazers. Getty Images United States Today Sports

Siakam was playing one of the best basketballs of his career in the nine games leading up to Friday’s tire fire. And yes, he had a few prominent misfires in the clutch to start a recent season, and he hasn’t excelled in a downturn this year either. He is one of Toronto’s only effective individual markers and creators, which, as has been noted here several times in the past, can be both a blessing and a curse. He tries to do it too late in games and that leads to bad shooting decisions and / or turnovers. Sounds a bit like DeMar DeRozan as Raptor, right?

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But the players can grow and the repetitions help.

Today, DeRozan is shooting 57.1% in clutch situations (the last five minutes of games where a team leads or lags by five points or less) with 41 points (sixth in the NBA) as well as seven assists. and a single turnover. DeRozan has also managed his 17 free throw attempts in the clutch this season.

Now, maybe DeMar only has one right now. Last year he shot 45.2% in the clutch with 20 assists and seven turnovers (still not bad). Or maybe he’s grown up and is enjoying being a perfect fit in Chicago and maybe Siakam can too (and it’s worth noting the year before his performance down, DeRozan shot a garish 50% in the clutch with 22 passes and just four turnovers).

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Getting into the clutch is not easy. Bradley Beal was second in league scoring last year, but has recorded as many turnovers as he has assists during those tense minutes. MVP Nikola Jokic had almost the same ratio. Kawhi Leonard pulled 38.6% in the clutch in his first season with the Los Angeles Clippers (Siakam shot 52% that year his breakout and Leonard had gone up to 49% in the clutch as the Raptor , not to mention his playoff exploits, to show how much those numbers can change from year to year).

The point, after all the twists and turns I guess, is struggling to understand why so many people think Siakam stinks and / or want to kick him out of town.

– Shifting gears, that was a mind-blowing performance from Scottie Barnes. Perhaps his best all-around game to date. There’s a long way to go and a lot of hard work for Barnes, but there’s no doubt at this point that he has the potential not only to be the face of the Raptors in time, but also potentially one. the faces of all the NBA. He has so much talent and charisma. It will be fun to see where things go.

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THREE STARS

1 Scottie Barnes

2 Gary Trent Jr.

3 Obi Toppin

– A new feature film debuts today: Former Night Raptor and Night Canadian.

OLD RAPTOR OF THE NIGHT

(FRIDAY):

Jonas Valanciunas: 17 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 7 for 12 in a victory.

Valanciunas was the only bright spot in a disastrous season in New Orleans. The deal Memphis made to get rid of him will never make sense to me.

(SATURDAY):

Terrence Ross: 22 points, 13-13 at the free throw line. Ross is an interesting potential commercial chip for the rebuilding of Magic. His ability to score could be useful for a competitor.

Kyle Lowry: 16 points, 14 assists. Lowry was awesome, holding the fort with injured Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo in Miami.

CANADIAN BY NIGHT

(FRIDAY):

A three-way tie between Oshae Brissett of Indiana, who had all four shots for nine points and added four rebounds in a win, as well as a backlash from Karl Malone Mailman on a dunk.

Trey Lyles of Detroit had 7 of 8 shots for 18 points and took five rebounds in a loss.

Chris Boucher of Toronto had 14 points, eight rebounds and one block.

(SATURDAY):

Dillon Brooks 23 points, 2 assists in a win. (Honorable mention to Andrew Wiggins who would have been there if his game had ended on time).

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