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Pascal Siakam (born April 2, 1994) is a Cameroonian professional basketball player for the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for the New Mexico State Aggies and was named the conference player of the year in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in 2016. Siakam was selected by Toronto in the first round of the 2016 NBA draft with the 27th overall pick. As a rookie, he received multiple assignments to the NBA Development League (known now as the NBA G League), and helped lead Raptors 905 to a D-League title while earning D-League Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) honors in 2017. He won an NBA championship with the Raptors in 2019 and won the NBA's Most Improved Player Award in the same year.

Pascal Siakam
Pascal Siakam 2018.jpg
Siakam in 2018
No. 43 – Toronto Raptors
PositionPower forward
LeagueNBA
Personal information
Born (1994-04-02) April 2, 1994 (age 25)
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

Early lifeEdit

Siakam was born in Douala, Cameroon to Tchamo and Victorie Siakam and was the youngest of four brothers. Siakam's father worked at a local transit company and was also the mayor of Makénéné. His father enrolled him in St. Andrew's Seminary, a Catholic institution in Bafia, at age 11; according to a 2018 story by ESPN journalist Jackie MacMullan, Pascal was "hand-picked to embody his family's Catholicism." He was an academic star, initially planning to become a Catholic priest, but by age 15 no longer wanted to be a priest. Siakam initially had little interest in basketball, unlike his older brothers, all of whom earned scholarships to NCAA Division I schools.[1]

He was discovered as a player by Luc Mbah a Moute, whose parents' home in Bafia is about 2 miles (3 km) from St. Andrew's Seminary, at a local camp. Siakam attended Mbah a Moute's camp for the first time in 2011, a year before graduating from St. Andrew's, and returned to the camp the following year, after which he was chosen to attend a Basketball Without Borders camp. At this camp, despite having had virtually no basketball experience, he gained attention for his athleticism and extremely high energy level; in MacMullan's 2018 story, 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 16. Siakam moved from one camp to the next to become a better professional basketball player before settling in Lewisville, Texas. He spent a year at God's Academy in Lewisville, due to previously being labeled ineligible for play,[2] before being recruited by New Mexico State University.

College careerEdit

Siakam enrolled at New Mexico State University in 2013. However, because of an injury, he redshirted the 2013–14 season. The following season in 2014–15, Siakam was named the WAC Freshman of the Year. He averaged 20.2 points, 11.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 34 games in 2015–16, en route to unanimous WAC Player of the Year honors.[3]

On April 19, 2016, Siakam declared for the NBA draft, forgoing his final two years of college eligibility.[4]

Professional careerEdit

Toronto Raptors (2016–present)Edit

On June 23, 2016, Siakam was selected by the Toronto Raptors with the 27th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft. On July 9, 2016, he signed his rookie scale contract with the Raptors.[5] On October 26, 2016, Siakam became the first Toronto rookie to start a season opener since Jonas Valančiūnas in 2012—and rose to the occasion, hauling in nine rebounds to go along with four points in 21 minutes in a 109–91 win over the Detroit Pistons.[6] Not only was this Siakam's NBA debut, it was also the first NBA game he had ever seen in person.[1] On December 3, 2016, he scored a season-high 14 points in a 128–84 win over the Atlanta Hawks.[7] On January 1, 2017, he recorded a season-high 10 rebounds in a 123–114 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.[7] Siakam started at power forward in all 34 games to start the 2016–17 season before being replaced in the starting line-up by Lucas Nogueira on January 5, 2017.[8] During his rookie season, Siakam received multiple assignments to Raptors 905, Toronto's D-League affiliate.[9] In April 2017, he helped Raptors 905 win the NBA Development League Championship. They defeated the Rio Grande Valley Vipers 2–1 in the finals, as Siakam averaged 23.0 points and 9.0 rebounds in the series. He was subsequently named the NBA D-League Finals MVP for his performance.[10]

On October 25, 2017, Siakam scored a then career-high 20 points in a 117–112 loss to the Golden State Warriors.[11] During 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.[12] He was compared to Warriors' forward Draymond Green.[12]

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

On October 29, 2018, Siakam scored a then career-high 22 points in a 124–109 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.[13][14] On November 10, he set a new career high with 23 points in a 128–112 win over the New York Knicks.[15] He was subsequently named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played November 5–11, becoming the eighth player in franchise history to earn player of the week honours, joining DeMar DeRozan (10 times), Vince Carter (seven times), Chris Bosh (seven times), Kyle Lowry (four times), Mike James, Jalen Rose and Lou Williams.[16] On January 13, he recorded 24 points and a career-high 19 rebounds in a 140–138 double-overtime win over the Washington Wizards.[17] On February 13, he set a new career high with 44 points along with a career-best four 3-pointers in a 129–120 win over the Wizards, becoming the 11th player in Raptors history to reach the 40-point plateau.[18] In Game 3 of the Raptors' first-round playoff series against the Orlando Magic, Siakam recorded 30 points and 11 rebounds in a 98–93 win.[19] In Game 1 of the second round, Siakam scored 29 points in a 108–95 win over the 76ers.[20] In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Siakam had 25 points and 11 rebounds to help the Raptors beat Milwaukee 118–112 in double overtime to cut the Bucks' series lead to 2–1.[21] In Game 6, Siakam scored 18 points in a 100–94 series-clinching win over the Bucks, helping the Raptors advance to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.[22] In Game 1 of the 2019 finals, Siakam scored a playoff career-high 32 points in a 118–109 win over Golden State.[23] He went on to help the Raptors defeat the Warriors in six games to win his first NBA championship.[24] Later that month, at the 2019 NBA Awards, Siakam was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player for the 2018–19 season.[25]

Career statisticsEdit

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
Denotes season in which Siakam won an NBA Championship

NBAEdit

Regular seasonEdit

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
Career 216 122 23.5 .531 .309 .743 5.1 2.0 .7 .6 10.1

PlayoffsEdit

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
Career 36 24 30.0 .481 .296 .738 5.8 2.1 .8 .6 14.5

CollegeEdit

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 lifeEdit

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][26] Siakam goes by the nickname "Spicy P".[27][28][29]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e MacMullan, Jackie (December 5, 2018). "Inside Pascal Siakam's 6,000-mile journey to Raptors stardom". ESPN.com. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  2. ^ NMSU's Pascal Siakam honors his late father by #DoingItForYou
  3. ^ WAC Men’s Basketball Postseason Honors Announced
  4. ^ Pascal Siakam declares for 2016 NBA Draft
  5. ^ "Raptors Sign First Round Picks Poeltl & Siakam". NBA.com. July 9, 2016. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  6. ^ "DeRozan's 40 leads Raptors to 109-91 win over Pistons". ESPN.com. October 26, 2016. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Pascal Siakam 2016-17 Game Log". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  8. ^ "Lowry scores 33, rallies Raptors to 101-93 win over Jazz". ESPN.com. January 5, 2017. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  9. ^ "All-Time NBA Assignments". NBA.com. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  10. ^ "Stackhouse, Raptors 905 Cap Historic Season With NBA D-League Championship". NBA.com. April 27, 2017. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  11. ^ "Raptors' Pascal Siakam: Career-best point total in loss". cbssports.com. October 26, 2017. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  12. ^ a b Connors, Colin (June 8, 2018). "2017-18 Player Review: Pascal Siakam". raptorsrepublic.com. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  13. ^ "Sans Freak, Bucks top Raptors to be last NBA undefeated team". ESPN.com. October 29, 2018. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  14. ^ "Leonard scores 31 points as Raptors beat 76ers 129-112". ESPN.com. October 30, 2018. Retrieved October 30, 2018. Siakam scored a career-best 22 points at Milwaukee on Monday.
  15. ^ "Siakam scores career-high 23, Raptors beat Knicks 128-112". ESPN.com. November 10, 2018. Retrieved November 10, 2018.
  16. ^ "Pascal Siakam Named East Player of the Week". NBA.com. November 12, 2018. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  17. ^ "Ibaka's 3-pointer helps Raptors survive Wizards in double OT". ESPN.com. January 13, 2019. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  18. ^ "Siakam scores career-best 44, Raptors beat Wizards 129-120". ESPN.com. February 13, 2019. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  19. ^ "Siakam has 30 points, Raptors top Magic 98-93 for 2-1 lead". ESPN.com. April 19, 2019. Retrieved April 28, 2019.
  20. ^ "Leonard scores 45 points, Raptors top 76ers 108-95 in Game 1". ESPN.com. April 27, 2019. Retrieved April 28, 2019.
  21. ^ "Leonard scores 36, Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2 OTs". ESPN.com. May 19, 2019. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  22. ^ "Leonard scores 27, Raptors advance to first NBA Finals". ESPN.com. May 25, 2019. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  23. ^ "Raptors take NBA Finals opener, beat Warriors 118-109". ESPN.com. May 30, 2019. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  24. ^ "Raptors capture first NBA title, beat Warriors in Game 6". ESPN.com. June 13, 2019. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  25. ^ "Raptors' Siakam wins Most Improved Player award". tsn.ca. June 24, 2019. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  26. ^ C.J. Moore (March 8, 2016). "New Mexico State's Pascal Siakam Is the Best Player You've Never Heard of". Retrieved 2019-06-09.
  27. ^ "Pascal Siakam Stats | Basketball-reference.com". Basketball Reference. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  28. ^ "Raptors forward Pascal Siakam's nickname doesn't make much sense, or does it?". Yahoo! Sports. 2 December 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  29. ^ Armstrong, Laura (6 December 2018). "Raptors star credits soccer for his patented spin". The Hamilton Spectator. Retrieved 2 June 2018.

External linksEdit