);
Toronto Raptors

Kawhi Leonard knew leaving the Toronto Raptors would make Pascal Siakam better

Kawhi Leonard isn't surprised by the leap Pascal Siakam has made this season.

After making his return to Toronto on Wednesday, a game in which Leonard led the LA Clippers over the Raptors with a team-high 23 points, the two-time Finals MVP was asked about what he's seen from his former teammate so far this season.

"He's their go-to guy now," Leonard said about Siakam. "With me leaving, I knew it would just make him better, him carrying that load. He did it last year in some games I was out. He's able to grow now and become the player who he wants to be without me being there.

"He's doing a great job. He's being aggressive and shooting the 3 more confidence and he's approaching every game the same way."

MORE: Sights and sounds from Kawhi's return

Through 24 games, Siakam is averaging career-highs across the board of 24.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists per contest, making him a likely first-time All-Star and even an MVP candidate.

As Leonard said, one part of Siakam's game that has evolved is his jump shot. He is currently making 2.2 3-pointers per game, which is more than double his average of last season (1.0). The way in which he's making those shots has completely changed as well, as he's gone from being a spot-up shooter in the corners to someone who is comfortable taking pull-ups and above-the-break 3s.

Siakam has struggled with his shot lately - he's shooting 40.2 percent from the field and 20.8 percent from the perimeter in his last five games, a stretch in which the Raptors are 1-4 - but he's been one of the biggest surprises in the league to this point of the season.

MORE: Siakam has become an entirely new player - again

Following their loss to the Clippers, the Raptors are now 16-8 on the season, putting them between the Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Raptors are back in action on Saturday when they host the Brooklyn Nets.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

More from NBA.com

RaptorsPodtable
🎙Raps Pod: Where do the Raptors rank among the best teams in the league?
NBA.com Staff
alex-len-113020-ftr-getty
What Alex Len brings to the Raptors
Scott Rafferty
LukaDame
The case for five 1st time MVP winners
Carlan Gay
#FVV
Raptors have fourth-best odds to win division
Carlan Gay
#LeBron #Butler
2020-21 NBA Season Previews
NBA.com Staff
#Murray #Jokic
Can the Nuggets remain a contender?
Kane Pitman
More News