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Pascal Siakam’s rise to No. 5 on the Raptors scoring list took off on a hot night in Oakland

Raptor Pascal Siakam, averaging 7.1 assists a game, feeds a teammate around Moritz Wagner of the Magic in Saturday night’s game at Scotiabank Arena.Raptor Pascal Siakam, averaging 7.1 assists a game, feeds a teammate around Moritz Wagner of the Magic in Saturday night’s game at Scotiabank Arena.

It was a Wednesday night time in October of 2017 at quirky Oracle Area in Oakland, and Fred VanVleet remembers it properly.

Toronto would lose that night time — 117-112 to the Golden State Warriors in an early-season NBA recreation of little general consequence — however because the contested unfolded, the brilliant way forward for the Raptors revealed itself.

You are reading: Pascal Siakam’s rise to No. 5 on the Raptors scoring list took off on a hot night in Oakland

Pascal Siakam, then only a second-year bundle of vitality and promise, had himself an evening: 20 factors, together with a few three-pointers, 9-for-13 from the sphere. All these years later, VanVleet remembers understanding it was a watershed second.

“He had a recreation at Golden State the place he made a whole lot of jumpers and I bear in mind us on the bench … that was the day we knew this was gonna be a hundred-million-dollar man,” VanVleet stated of Siakam and that night. “You might simply see it. And as soon as he began to place it collectively, the remainder is historical past.”

That historical past remains to be being written, however a milestone has been reached.

Siakam, who started his profession as rather more an athlete than a basketball participant, has moved into fifth place on the all-time listing of Raptors scorers.

With 26 factors in Saturday’s 121-108 win over Orlando, the 28-year-old Siakam handed Andrea Bargnani and introduced his whole to six,604, trailing solely DeMar DeRozan (13,296), Kyle Lowry (10,540), Chris Bosh (10,275) and Vince Carter (9,420).

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Not unhealthy for a participant who was unimaginably uncooked when the Raptors drafted him twenty seventh in 2016.

“I feel after we first bought him, we had been enthusiastic about his vitality, his athleticism and issues like that,” coach Nick Nurse stated, “and his starvation to play. And I feel that translated fairly shortly to starvation to get quite a bit higher.

“He’s clearly had some ups and downs, like most guys do of their careers, and (he’s) come out of it right here on the opposite aspect.”

Siakam — averaging a career-best 24.2 factors on 49 per cent taking pictures from the sphere, and 35 per cent effectivity from three-point vary, in 13 video games this season — has arrived at this level via sheer onerous work.

“It’s onerous to discover a trajectory like that within the league, and he deserves a ton of credit score for that,” VanVleet stated. “It’s fairly onerous to protect. There’s not many guys that may guard him one-on-one, so he’s developed into an unimaginable offensive participant.”

It’s all properly and good to speak concerning the vaunted Raptors developmental system and level to the Cameroonian as proof of its effectiveness, but when he didn’t put in 1000’s of low season hours engaged on his recreation no “program” would have helped.

“We put the work in and at all times have that perception, and I’m keen to do all the pieces that I can to be the very best that I will be, and that’s an on a regular basis factor,” Siakam stated.

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He’s what he’s as a result of he’s pushed to be the very best.

“I’ve objectives for myself, and I do know if I put the work in I can obtain them, and that’s all I’m taking a look at,” Siakam stated, unaware he’d climbed to No. 5 on the scoring listing Saturday night time. “I simply need to proceed to develop, and wherever that places me that’s what I’ll take, as a result of I do know I put the work in.”

Because the day he arrived in Toronto, Siakam has been on a mission to enhance his abilities. Now, he has to rank as among the finest Raptors ever. He was a key member of a championship crew, has twice made all-NBA and, actually, remains to be within the infancy of his profession with a lot to show.

“What we’re seeing from him this 12 months is placing him fairly excessive on the listing; we’ll see how that seems within the playoffs,” VanVleet stated. “I feel all of us are spoiled now since we gained a championship. We maintain all the pieces to that (normal). So if he can lead us within the playoffs with that very same unimaginable efficiency, he’s going to maintain climbing and he’ll have a heck of a case on the finish of his profession.”

And that’s when Siakam will take inventory of the place he matches all-time.

“It’s persevering with to climb … be sure to need to proceed to go up — no matter that’s, no matter which means,” he stated. “I don’t know the place that’s going to go. I need to get higher, enhance. I don’t need to keep the identical.”

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