Will Pascal Siakam Continue to be the Starter Until Jared Sullinger Returns?

Pascal Siakam, the rookie, has been the starting power forward for the Toronto Raptors through eight games.

Pascal Siakam, the rookie, has been the starting power forward for the Toronto Raptors through eight games. It was hard to imagine going into the season that the 27th pick in the draft would be a starter on a team that won 56 games last season. At the same time, no one was foreseeing the Raptors biggest off-season acquisition, Jared Sullinger, to get hurt. Both these things happened and the Raptors aren’t in dire straits.

In the preseason, there was major buzz coming from the Raptors and Toronto media on Siakam. Some fans started buying into that he was a Bismack Biyombo clone which couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, Siakam may have a similar energy level to Biyombo, but he doesn’t block shots or protect the rim. On the plus side, Siakam can catch a basketball and has more range than Biyombo. However, if Pascal wants to live up to the energy tag he has to do something with it. If the energy isn’t going to show itself on the defensive front, he must figure out how to be aggressive with the ball in his hands.

In eight games, Pascal Siakam has averaged 4.5PPG (on 48.6% shooting from the field), 4.1RPG, 0.38SPG, 0.38BPG, 0.5TPG playing just under 17MPG. He also doesn’t get to the free throw line much. Siakam’s worst game came against the Hornets where he didn’t do much of anything. He’s going to have off nights like this from time to time, but it’s hard to be disappointed with a rookie over a few games.

Opponent Minutes Field Goal Rebounds Turnovers Steals Blocks Points
Hornets 10:43 0% 1 0 0 0 0
Thunder 12:43 66.7% 4 0 0 2 4
Kings 23:59 50% 6 0 0 1 10
Heat 16:15 66.7% 3 1 0 0 8
Wizards 17:46 50% 3 1 1 0 4
Nuggets 15:09 25% 4 0 0 0 2
Cavs 14:55 50% 3 2 1 0 4
Pistons 21:44 100% 9 0 1 0 4

Okay, the stats might look spectacular. However, the opposing power forwards haven’t exactly feasted either.

Opponent Minutes Field Goal Rebounds Turnovers Steals Blocks Points
Marvin Williams 35:28 20% 13 1 0 1 10
Domantas Sabonis 27:32 50% 1 0 1 0 7
DeMarcus Cousins 35:45 33.3% 14 0 1 3 22
Luke Babbit 26:41 20% 5 0 0 0 3
Markieff Morris 36:08 28.6% 3 2 1 0 6
Nikola Jokic 22:22 66.7% 4 4 0 0 12
Kevin Love 35:39 40% 10 0 1 1 18
Tobias Harris 36:16 61.5% 5 5 1 0 22

Yes, they all put up better stats than Siakam, but they played significantly more minutes. Plus, none of them posted better numbers than their early season per game numbers. Patrick Patterson may not be starting or playing well, but he’s been getting the lion share of the minutes at power forward. Patterson has been playing just over 31MPG in backup for Siakam. Patterson is averaging 6.25PPG (on 30.5% shooting from the field), 5.75RPG, 0.88SPG, 0.88BPG, 0.38TPG.

Raptor fans seem adamant on the team upgrading at power forward. It’s certainly been the weak point of the roster for a few years now. As much as it would be great to get a player like Paul Millsap, the Raptors would have to give up a lot to get a player of that ilk. And I’m not sure Millsap would get the same looks as a Raptor. It’s clear the offense runs through DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. As it is, big man Jonas Valanciunas isn’t getting enough touches. So before you pull up the ESPN Trade Machine, think about how the Raptors have been playing well without Jared Sullinger who will be back at some point.

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