Toronto – looking at The Toronto Raptors the team that won it all last season and in 2019-20 unit, which is trying to repeat, and you’ll see quite a few similarities.
Obviously, Qax Leonard is no longer with the team, but a lot of the main championship remains intact, only now they have the added benefit of championship experience.
As Leonard last season, it is clear Pascal Siakam will be riding the team came off.
The fourth year forward was a bit of a roller coaster season as he adapted to the team’s top offensive option, but, considering all the circumstances, have achieved success in a new role, leading the predators in the expense of 23.6 point-in-game normal and earn your first star nod – as a starter, no less.
More pertinent to the scenario that ahead of him in the playoffs, Siakam was also one of the main predators’ performers in difficult situations. Siakam scored 74 points – good for second-most in the team – on 51 percent shooting in minutes NBA.com determines how “clutch.”
Thus, while it is true that Siakam has experienced its share of growing pains this season when it mattered most, he certainly appeared, and until this changes, there is no reason to believe Siakam crunch-time heroics is not going to transfer after the season, either.
“I feel like I get a lot of attention throughout the season, and that’s what I will be working,” Siakam said in a conference call on Friday. “Obviously, the playoffs is more specific in terms of preparation and team will be ready with different things. I think I’m just going to take it day by day and, obviously, I know that the actions I do as a team, as a rule, preserve me. (I) just work on those things and making sure I’m ready to adapt to any situation.”
Siakam admitted that during the three-month period that he was forced into quarantine until, when he came to Florida to restart the camp of the predators-he couldn’t make a single shot up or do anything basketball-related. It’s the longest he’s gone without doing something basketball related that he first took up the game.
As for how it may seem, this is not how it will be when you go to play with friends for the first few months and you lost the feeling for your shot. Siakam NBA stars, getting his feel back, like riding a bike and he knows what he needs to do to get back in shape.
“I think for me, obviously, after sitting for a long time, not knowing how to shoot a basketball and play basketball, it’s just to be able to get out there on the floor, just a little run to make sure I get my shots up, work on things that I’m going to see in the game,” Siakam said. “Pick and rolls in various actions we perform throughout our crimes, and just variations on the way to the Result.
“The more action that I may have, the more opportunities and different ways I can score, the better for me and my team.”
With that said, it is not Siakam do not know long layoff may have an adverse effect on his game. To his credit, he said he is working hard to look at it as another challenge that must be overcome to return to the court better than ever.
“It is quite difficult, because at the end of the day sometimes a rest can be a problem because our bodies are not used to be away for so long,” said Siakam. “I just felt it was a really good season and experience for me to be there, on the floor, looking at various items and accessories. And only in my way and who I am as a person and as a basketball player, is something that always excites me and will help me to reach new heights and excites me a problem — I love it.
“I love going through all the tests – and obviously you want to win and be the best you can – but I really appreciate, just to be there, on the floor, knowing that I am fighting, knowing I will miss a lot of shots, knowing that I’m going to make mistakes, and also knowing that I will work very hard to fix those mistakes and be the best player I can be.”
If Siakam could be in the bubble anything like the guy we saw during the regular season, the raptors will be in good shape.
But he can’t do it alone, he needs help from their other predatory companions.
Fortunately, they are a very balanced group, especially offensively, having six players average double-digits.
Ahead of last year’s post-season, everyone knew that Leonard was going to be a guy, and then maybe, just maybe, Kyle Lowry will be a secondary offensive option. Instead, there was Siakam as a secondary option, a pleasant surprise for the predators as he was not only a key factor in their title, but it also cleared up a few hazy future for the team.
Coming this year in the playoffs that the secondary man once again looks like it might be Lowry – the team’s second top scorer this season – but he could just as easily be any other four double-digit scorers: Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, Serge Ibaka or Og Anunoby.
This is the list of players Anunoby is the most intriguing because of his circumstances during last year’s championship run.
Anunoby took off on a bench for a time after the end of the season because of appendicitis, he only before the start of the playoffs.
This year, it seems, Anunoby will be ready to rock, and given the success he did in the defense this season, it may surprise difference-maker for the predators similarly Siakam was last year, especially if it’s done on the offensive end to pay.
“I think it’s going well,” said Anunoby his offensive game. “I worked all the time, we’ve been allowed to return to the gym, just working on new material, scenes from different places on the floor, and then another, shooting, ball handling and everything. I think it goes very well.”
Just as recently as March 1 against the Denver nuggets – just 10 days before the start of the NBA season, weighted – Anunoby to have a career night attack, scoring 32 points on 12-for-16 shooting, including 3-of-6 mark from three-point range.
Unfortunately, it was rather an anomaly for Anunoby this season, but it’s proof that he’s doing something offensive capabilities and if it will be able to link ideas as that a little more consistently, especially in the playoffs, the raptors have become sinister, with a legitimate offensive threat everywhere on the floor.
It would also help to bring more clarity in the future predators’.
Like Siakam has done with his post-season heroics last year, Anunoby could cement himself as a cornerstone of a team with strong playoff and prove to the organization that he is worth the resources invested in it. Must be a restricted free agent in the summer of 2021, Anunoby will be for the beginner extension upcoming season, Anunoby could cause Raptors to lock him in the upcoming playoffs.
We have already seen what happens with the predators in the playoffs when their leader stands and a good young player steps up.
And the same thing could happen again this year.
• During the conference call on Friday, Siakam and Anunoby asked about the life of an important black movement and how they use their platform to affect change in Canada and abroad.
“We know it’s US we’re talking about all the time, but I think that these racial issues are sort of all over the world,” said Siakam. “So it affects Canada and I think we can do all we can going to try. And at the end of the day to do our research and do your best and I think we on the raptors phenomenal team from the owners to the management, all very helpful questions what is happening and What we want to do everything possible to affect change and to do something meaningful, and not just (because) it’s cool to do things.”
“I think just spreading the word, letting people know what is going on and to make sure that they are aware of what is happening, and how can it be, unconscious behavior, they make that affect people,” said Anunoby. “And just to be more aware and then say how people do things in their cities and States. So just to use our platform.”
Anunoby added in respect of any unconscious racist actions he had not previously encountered: “I don’t want to talk about it, but it happened. I think it happened to everyone. Middle school, high school, just growing up, going to the stores, restaurants, driving around, you see him.”
• Anunoby-a man of few words, but sometimes he flashes a dry wit that still makes him a fun guy for reporters to talk to. Here are a few highlights from the call on Friday:
OG to music during the quarantine
Reporter: do you have a quarantine music recommendations, Governor?
Anunoby: I listened to music the whole quarantine. No.
Competition RSA and Ibaka iron chef incoming
Reporter: outside of basketball, have you picked up any new Hobbies to help you pass the time?
Anunoby: no, the only thing I do is cook.
Reporter: what is your favorite thing to cook?
Anunoby: depends on what I’m trying to eat dinner.
Reporter: okay, what’s your favorite dish?
Anunoby: favorite food? Shrimp Linguini.
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