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Pascal Siakam

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Pascal Siakam
Pascal Siakam 2018.jpg
Siakam with the Raptors in 2018
No. 43 – Toronto Raptors
PositionPower forward
LeagueNBA
Personal information
Born (1994-04-02) 2 April 1994 (age 26)
Douala, Cameroon
NationalityCameroonian
Listed height6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)
Listed weight230 lb (104 kg)
Career information
High schoolGod's Academy (Lewisville, Texas)
CollegeNew Mexico State (2014–2016)
NBA draft2016 / Round: 1 / Pick: 27th overall
Selected by the Toronto Raptors
Playing career2016–present
Career history
2016–presentToronto Raptors
2017Raptors 905
Career highlights and awards
Stats at NBA.com
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Pascal Siakam (born 2 April 1994) is a Cameroonian professional basketball player for the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Siakam played college basketball for the New Mexico State Aggies and was named the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 2016. Nicknamed "Spicy P", he was selected by Toronto with the 27th overall pick in the first round of the 2016 NBA draft. After being assigned to the NBA Development League (now the G League) as a rookie in 2017, he led Toronto’s affiliate team to a league championship and picked up Finals Most Valuable Player honors in the process. Siakam would later help the Raptors claim an NBA championship in 2019 while winning the league's Most Improved Player Award in the same season, the first player to win both during the same season. He was named an NBA All-Star for the first time in the 2019-20 season.

Early life

Siakam was born in Douala, Cameroon, to Tchamo and Victorie Siakam, the youngest of four brothers. His father, Tchamo, worked for a local transit company and was also the mayor of Makénéné. According to a story by Jackie MacMullan of ESPN, Pascal was effectively "hand-picked to embody his family's Catholicism." His father thus enrolled him in St. Andrew's Seminary in Bafia at age eleven. The academic star of the family, Siakam originally wanted to become a Catholic priest; but by age fifteen, he had a change of heart.

Siakam initially had little interest in basketball in stark contrast to his older brothers, all of whom earned scholarships with the sport to various NCAA Division I colleges.[1] He was discovered as a player at a local camp by Luc Mbah a Moute, whose parents' home in Bafia was about 2 miles (3 km) from St. Andrew's. Siakam attended Mbah a Moute's camp for the first time in 2011, a year before graduating from St. Andrew's; and he returned to it the following year, after which he was selected to attend the Basketball Without Borders camp. There, despite having had virtually no basketball experience at the time, he gained attention for his apparent athleticism and extremely high energy level. As Raptors president Masai Ujiri, who had been at this camp, recalled, "His effort was memorable."[1] With Mbah a Moute as a mentor, Siakam moved to the United States at the age of sixteen. He went from one camp to the next to hone his skills before settling in Lewisville, Texas, and attending God's Academy. While at this prep school, Siakam was neither widely known nor initially eligible. But he was at least pursued by New Mexico State University; the Aggies' coach had Siakam on his radar since his pipeline of connections spanned several continents and his roster reserved fourteen spots for foreign-born players.[2]

College career

Siakam enrolled at New Mexico State University in 2013. After redshirting the 2013–14 season due to injury, he worked his way onto the Aggies' starting lineup and then to Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Freshman of the Year honors by the 2014–15 campaign. For the 2015–16 campaign, he averaged 20.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks across 34 games en route to earning unanimous WAC Player of the Year honors.[3] On 19 April 2016, Siakam declared for the NBA draft, forgoing his final two years of college eligibility.[4]

Professional career

Toronto Raptors (2016–present)

2016–17 season

On 23 June 2016, Siakam was selected by the Toronto Raptors with the 27th overall pick in the NBA draft,[5] with the franchise signing him to a rookie scale contract on 9 July.[6] On 2 October, he became the first rookie to start for the Raptors' season-opener since Jonas Valančiūnas did so in 2012; rising to the occasion, he hauled in 9 rebounds and notched 4 points in 21 minutes as Toronto beat the Detroit Pistons, 109–91.[7] It marked not only his NBA debut, but the first NBA game that he had ever seen in person.[1] On 3 December, Siakam scored a season-high 14 points, which came in a 128–84 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.[8] On 1 January 2017, during a 123–114 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, he pulled down a season-high 10 rebounds.[8]

In his rookie season, Siakam started in as many as 38 games at power forward, including the first 35 of the 2016–17 campaign, because Jared Sullinger was out with injury;[5] he was later replaced on the starting lineup by Lucas Nogueira on 5 January 2017.[9] From 21 February through 28 April, he was alternately assigned to the Raptors 905 of the D-League and recalled from it.[10] Accordingly, between games played for the Raptors, he led Toronto's affiliate team to the Finals and helped them win a title by defeating the Rio Grande Valley Vipers 2–1. After averaging 23 points and 9 rebounds in that series, he was named the D-League Finals MVP.[11]

2017–18 season

In his second year in the NBA, Siakam cemented himself as a productive bench contributor for Toronto.[5] He recorded a then career-high 20 points during a 117–112 loss to the Golden State Warriors on 25 October 2017.[12] For the 2017–18 season, the Raptors' offensive rating was four points better with Siakam on the floor, compared to seven points worse his rookie year.[13] His averages improved from 4.3 points per game to 7.3, from 3.4 rebounds per game to 4.5, and from 0.3 assists per game to 2.0.[8] He would draw comparisons to Warriors' forward Draymond Green for such qualities as his rare ability to guard all positions, his shrewd basketball IQ, and internal confidence.[13]

2018–19 season

Siakam readying for a jump ball against Andre Iguodala during Game 2 of the 2019 NBA Finals

Heading into the 2018-19 campaign, Siakam emerged as a two-way force, and he would average 16.9 points a night to go along with 6.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists; he would also make a marked improvement in shooting from distance, increasing his three-point percentage by 14 points to 36 percent.[8] He surpassed his previous career-high on 29 October 2018, by posting 22 points during a 124–109 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.[14][15] On 10 November, he set a new career-high with 23 points scored in a 128–112 victory over the New York Knicks.[16] Siakam was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played 5 to 11 November, thus becoming the eighth Raptor in franchise history to earn the award after DeMar DeRozan (10 times), Vince Carter (7 times), Chris Bosh (7 times), Kyle Lowry (4 times), Mike James, Jalen Rose, and Lou Williams.[17] On 13 January, Siakam recorded 24 points and a career-high 19 rebounds in a 140–138 double-overtime win versus the Washington Wizards.[18] On 13 February, he racked up a new career-high 44 points and hit a career-best 4 three-pointers in a 129–120 win over the Wizards; he thus became the 11th Raptor in franchise history to reach the 40-point plateau.[19]

In Game 3 of the Raptors' first-round playoff series against the Orlando Magic, Siakam tallied 30 points and 11 rebounds in the 98–93 victory.[20] In Game 1 of the second round, Siakam posted 29 points in a 108–95 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.[21] In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Siakam helped Toronto defeat Milwaukee in double-overtime, 118–112, putting up 25 points and bringing down 11 rebounds; the win cut the Bucks' series lead to 2–1.[22] In Game 6, Siakam converted 18 points for his part in the 100–94 win over Milwaukee; the victory clinched the series and propelled the Raptors to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.[23] In Game 1 of the 2019 Finals, Siakam scored a playoff career-high 32 points in a 118–109 victory over the Golden State Warriors.[24] He went on to help the Raptors defeat the Warriors in six games and thus capture their first NBA Championship in franchise history.[25] At the 2019 Awards ceremony later that month, Siakam was named the NBA's Most Improved Player for the 2018–19 season.[26] On 19 October 2019, Siakam agreed to a four-year, $130 million extension with Toronto.[27]

2019–20 season

Siakam recorded 34 points, 18 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 block in 38 minutes played of the NBA's season-opening game to help the Raptors beat the New Orleans Pelicans 130–122. He also matched his career-highs in both offensive rebounds and made free throws, and set a new career-high in field goals attempted.[28] On 8 November, Siakam scored a career-high 44 points in a 122–104 win over the Pelicans.[29] On 13 November, Siakam scored 36 points in a 114–106 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.[30] On 1 December, Siakam scored 35 points in a 130–110 win over the Utah Jazz.[31] On 23 January 2020, Siakam was selected to his first career All-Star nod, being named a starter in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game.[32] On 26 January, Siakam would again score 35 points in a 110–106 win over the San Antonio Spurs.[33] On 21 February, Siakam scored 37 points, along with 12 rebounds, in a 118–101 win over the Phoenix Suns.[34]

Career statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high
 †  Won an NBA championship

NBA

Regular season

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2016–17 Toronto 55 38 15.6 .502 .143 .688 3.4 .3 .5 .8 4.2
2017–18 Toronto 81 5 20.7 .508 .220 .621 4.5 2.0 .8 .5 7.3
2018–19 Toronto 80 79 31.9 .549 .369 .785 6.9 3.1 .9 .7 16.9
2019–20 Toronto 60 60 35.2 .453 .359 .792 7.3 3.5 1.0 .9 22.9
Career 276 182 26.5 .500 .334 .764 5.6 2.3 .8 .7 12.8
All-Star 1 1 18.0 .700 .000 .500 6.0 0.0 1.0 0.0 15.0

Playoffs

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2017 Toronto 2 0 5.0 .000 1.5 .5 .5 .0 .0
2018 Toronto 10 0 17.9 .610 .750 .650 3.6 .8 .1 .6 6.6
2019 Toronto 24 24 37.1 .470 .279 .759 7.1 2.8 1.0 .7 19.0
2020 Toronto 11 11 38.0 .396 .189 .717 7.5 3.8 1.1 .4 17.0
Career 47 35 31.9 .456 .261 .732 6.2 2.5 .8 .6 15.1

College

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2014–15 New Mexico State 34 27 30.8 .572 .000 .759 7.7 1.3 .8 1.8 12.8
2015–16 New Mexico State 34 34 34.6 .539 .200 .678 11.6 1.7 1.0 2.2 20.3
Career 68 61 32.7 .551 .176 .711 9.7 1.5 .9 2.0 16.6

Personal life

Siakam is the son of Tchamo Siakam, the former mayor of Makénéné, Cameroon, and Victorie Siakam. His father died in a car crash in October 2014. To this day, one of Siakam's greatest regrets is that he was unable to attend his father's funeral because it occurred while he was waiting for the issuance of a new US visa.[1] His three older brothers, Boris, Christian, and James, all played NCAA Division I basketball in the United States—Boris at Western Kentucky, Christian at IUPUI, and James at Vanderbilt.[1][35] Siakam goes by the nickname "Spicy P".[36][37][38]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e MacMullan, Jackie (5 December 2018). "Inside Pascal Siakam's 6,000-mile journey to Raptors stardom". ESPN.com. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  2. ^ "NMSU's Pascal Siakam honors his late father by #DoingItForYou". American Sports Network. Archived from the original on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  3. ^ "WAC Men's Basketball Postseason Honors Announced". Archived from the original on 8 August 2016. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Pascal Siakam declares for 2016 NBA Draft". New Mexico State University Athletics. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  5. ^ a b c "Pascal Siakam Isn't the Next Kawhi—but His Future May Be Just As Bright". The Ringer. 12 November 2019. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
  6. ^ "Raptors Sign First Round Picks Poeltl & Siakam". NBA.com. 9 July 2016. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  7. ^ "DeRozan's 40 leads Raptors to 109-91 win over Pistons". ESPN.com. 26 October 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d "Pascal Siakam 2016-17 Game Log". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  9. ^ "Lowry scores 33, rallies Raptors to 101-93 win over Jazz". ESPN.com. 5 January 2017. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  10. ^ "All-Time NBA Assignments". NBA.com. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  11. ^ "Stackhouse, Raptors 905 Cap Historic Season With NBA D-League Championship". NBA.com. 27 April 2017. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  12. ^ "Raptors' Pascal Siakam: Career-best point total in loss". cbssports.com. 26 October 2017. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  13. ^ a b Connors, Colin (8 June 2018). "2017-18 Player Review: Pascal Siakam". raptorsrepublic.com. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  14. ^ "Sans Freak, Bucks top Raptors to be last NBA undefeated team". ESPN.com. 29 October 2018. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  15. ^ "Leonard scores 31 points as Raptors beat 76ers 129-112". ESPN.com. 30 October 2018. Retrieved 30 October 2018. Siakam scored a career-best 22 points at Milwaukee on Monday.
  16. ^ "Siakam scores career-high 23, Raptors beat Knicks 128-112". ESPN.com. 10 November 2018. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  17. ^ "Pascal Siakam Named East Player of the Week". NBA.com. 12 November 2018. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
  18. ^ "Ibaka's 3-pointer helps Raptors survive Wizards in double OT". ESPN.com. 13 January 2019. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
  19. ^ "Siakam scores career-best 44, Raptors beat Wizards 129-120". ESPN.com. 13 February 2019. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  20. ^ "Siakam has 30 points, Raptors top Magic 98-93 for 2-1 lead". ESPN.com. 19 April 2019. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  21. ^ "Leonard scores 45 points, Raptors top 76ers 108-95 in Game 1". ESPN.com. 27 April 2019. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  22. ^ "Leonard scores 36, Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2 OTs". ESPN.com. 19 May 2019. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  23. ^ "Leonard scores 27, Raptors advance to first NBA Finals". ESPN.com. 25 May 2019. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  24. ^ "Raptors take NBA Finals opener, beat Warriors 118-109". ESPN.com. 30 May 2019. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  25. ^ "Raptors capture first NBA title, beat Warriors in Game 6". ESPN.com. 13 June 2019. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  26. ^ "Raptors' Siakam wins Most Improved Player award". tsn.ca. 24 June 2019. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  27. ^ Jacob, Vivek (19 October 2019). "Report: Raptors agree to 4-year, max extension with Siakam". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  28. ^ "Raptors' Pascal Siakam: Massive line in season opener". CBSSports.com. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
  29. ^ https://www.espn.com/nba/game?gameId=401160763
  30. ^ https://www.espn.com/nba/game?gameId=401160802
  31. ^ https://www.espn.com/nba/game?gameId=401160933
  32. ^ "Raptors' Pascal Siakam named a starter in his first-ever NBA all-star game - Sportsnet.ca". www.sportsnet.ca. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  33. ^ https://www.espn.com/nba/game?gameId=401161328
  34. ^ https://nba.nbcsports.com/2020/02/21/pascal-siakam-scores-37-raptors-remain-red-hot-with-win-vs-suns/amp/
  35. ^ Moore, C.J. (8 March 2016). "New Mexico State's Pascal Siakam Is the Best Player You've Never Heard of". Retrieved 9 June 2019.
  36. ^ "Pascal Siakam Stats | Basketball-reference.com". Basketball Reference. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  37. ^ "Raptors forward Pascal Siakam's nickname doesn't make much sense, or does it?". Yahoo! Sports. 2 December 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  38. ^ Armstrong, Laura (6 December 2018). "Raptors star credits soccer for his patented spin". The Hamilton Spectator. Retrieved 2 June 2018.

External links