With the NBA Finals going on, the Toronto Raptors will be sitting at home and reminiscing about their own run from last season. They entered the playoffs on a strong note but were knocked in the second round. One of their biggest problems was the poor form of star Pascal Siakam.
In the regular season, Siakam was the best player for the Raptors, making his first All-Star appearance as a starter. But entering into the bubble, he didn’t look like the same player he was earlier in the season. During an interview with ESPN, coach Nick Nurse talked about what went wrong for Siakam.
“He wasn’t right,” Nurse said. “I just think he lost his bounce. He didn’t look as athletic or as strong or as fast. He was in tip-top condition in March, but the lack of playing for three or four months hurt him. He couldn’t get it going, and he never did get back to where he was conditioning-wise.
“So, the layoff made a difference for him. But look, the Lakers and Miami had the layoff too, and they didn’t let that stop them. That’s why they’re still playing.”
Siakam has shown he can put in quality performances. Before the bubble started, Siakam was averaging 23.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, and was shooting 45% from the field. His improvement from last season almost made fans forget the loss of Kawhi Leonard, who was their star player last season.
But after entering the bubble, Siakam’s numbers dropped drastically. He averaged 16.9 points, 6.8 rebounds while shooting 39% from the field and 26% from three in the 18 games he played in the Orlando bubble. During the series against the Celtics, he recorded the worst three-point shooting performance in a playoff series in NBA history.
Entering into the next season, the Raptors already losing Marc Gasol. They could also potentially lose Fred VanVleet and Serge Ibaka to free agency. So if the team becomes weaker, the responsibility on Siakam’s shoulders will increase.
The team looks to him as the leader and he will be expected to lead them to better results in the 2020-21 season.
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