Having missed a game for disciplinary reasons, Pascal Siakam has now played 10 games this season.
Similar to what we did with the Raptors following their 10th game, here's a closer look at some of the good and bad that we've seen thus far from Toronto's leading man, this time with the help of four key stats.
5.0: How many assists per game Siakam is averaging
As always, let's start with a positive.
As I wrote following Toronto's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, in which Siakam recorded the first triple-double of his career, his passing has been one of the bright spots for the Raptors. It's not just that he's averaging a career-best 5.0 assists per game, up from 3.5 last season. It's the types of passes he's making.
I made note of this one, which made my jaw drop when it happened in real-time:
But Siakam has generally done a much better job of attacking the defence and making the right read at the right time. He seems to be actively looking for his teammates more this season, not necessarily passing when he has no other option.
Equally as impressive is that Siakam has increased his assists while averaging the same amount of turnovers as he did last season (2.5). As a result, his assist-to-turnover ratio has increased from 1.4 to 2.0.
There's still room for Siakam to grow as a passer, but he's making legitimate strides.
16.7%: Siakam's shooting percentage on pull-up 3s
Now for the not so good.
One of the biggest developments in Siakam's game last season was his 3-point shooting off the dribble. According to NBA.com, he went from making one pull-up 3-pointer the entire 2018-19 season to going 51-for-150 on those shots in 2019-20.
Teams still played him for the drive - they probably always will - but he showcased the ability to punish defenders for giving him space, both in isolation and out of the pick-and-roll.
So far this season, not so much.
Not only is Siakam taking far fewer 3s off the dribble - they've gone from making up 13.8 percent of his field-goal attempts to 7.3 percent - his efficiency has plummeted. After making 34.0 percent of his pull-up 3s last season, he's down to 16.7 percent this season.
That's based on a small sample size of 12 shots, but again, even the volume with which Siakam is shooting 3s off the dribble is down.
It'll be interesting to see if that trend continues or if he can unlock that part of his game again in the coming weeks. If he can, it would make him that much more difficult to guard.
43.3%: Siakam's shooting percentage from midrange
Fortunately for the Raptors, Siakam has knocked down catch-and-shoot 3s at a decent rate (34.3 percent). He's also been a more efficient scorer between the 3-point line and the rim.
According to Cleaning The Glass, Siakam made 34.4 percent of his midrange shots last season, which includes the non-restricted area part of the paint. That ranked him in the 42nd percentile for his position.
So far this season, Siakam has made 43.3 percent from midrange, ranking him in the 51st percentile for his position.
In other words, Siakam has still only been an average midrange scorer for his position, but he's been markedly more efficient than he was last season.
I've written about the importance of Siakam becoming a more reliable midrange scorer before, but becoming more comfortable in the non-restricted area part of the paint is equally as important. He struggled greatly from there in the playoffs, particularly against the Boston Celtics in the second round.
These sorts of possessions, in which Siakam gets into the paint but short-arms a floater, are the ones that stand out in my mind when thinking back on that series:
Fast forward to this season, and Siakam appears to be more decisive operating from that distance.
The playoffs will be the true test - that's when teams key in on a player's weaknesses the most - but it's hard not to be encouraged by what Siakam has shown from midrange to start this season. The Raptors can only hope it continues.
-46.7: Siakam's net rating in the clutch
All of these stats have to be taken with a grain of salt because we are working with some extremely small sample sizes.
Doubly so with this one.
Why even include it, then? It's something to monitor more than anything.
One of the more surprising stats last season was that Siakam scored a total of 82 points in the clutch, tying him with Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray for 22nd-most in the league. He was incredibly efficient, shooting 51.9 percent from the field, 50.0 percent from 3-point range and 82.8 percent from the free-throw line.
Through 11 games this season, Siakam has scored six points in the clutch on 2-for-10 shooting from the field. (He's yet to attempt a 3-pointer and is 2-for-2 from the free-throw line). Again, small sample size, but six of Toronto's games have been decided in the clutch and the Raptors have come out on top in only one of those games.
While Siakam isn't the only one to blame for the Raptors coming up short - neither Kyle Lowry nor Fred VanVleet have been much better - he did miss two potential game-winners in the team's four-game road trip.
The first came against the Golden State Warriors.
The second came against the Portland Trail Blazers.
As we just went over, those are both shots Siakam is capable of making, but he wasn't able to get them to drop when it mattered most.
Using that as evidence that Siakam isn't clutch would be short-sighted, but the Raptors do need him to be better than he has been if they're going to turn it around.
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