The NBA will announce the five starters in each conference for the 2020 All-Star Game on Thursday night.
All-Star starters are determined by votes from fans, media and players with the fan vote accounting for 50% and the players/media each accounting for 25%.
In the third and final voting returns released last Thursday, Pascal Siakam ranked second among Eastern Conference frontcourt players behind only Giannis Antetokounmpo.
While Antetokounmpo is a lock and the runaway leader among all Eastern Conference players, Siakam figures to be in a tight race alongside Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler for the final two spots.
Ahead of Thursday's announcement, we asked three of our writers a simple question: Should Siakam start the All-Star Game?
Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13): I have a feeling this is going to be unpopular, but I'm going to say no.
Siakam has been incredible and the leaps he's made this season in becoming the true number one option go vastly beyond my expectations.
I think he's a lock to make the All-Star team and looks like a perennial lock for years to come.
But I do think he should be among the reserves.
Joel Embiid has simply been too dominant not to warrant selection as a starter despite missing time and Philadelphia's uneven first half of the season. When he's engaged, he's unquestionably one of the five biggest difference makers in the league when factoring in both sides of the ball and when it comes to talking about whether other teams (I see you, Celtics and Clippers) should make trades come deadline time, stopping Embiid is a name mentioned as a big reason for it. He plays such an important role in the overall scheme of things that it feels odd to have an All-Star Game without him starting (barring health).
Which means it then comes to a discussion between Siakam and Jimmy Butler. If it was possible to simply award it to the player whose team was higher in the standings at the time of the game, that's exactly what I would do. But that isn't the way it works, so it boils down to whether Siakam or Butler is a bigger reason for their team's success. Butler personifies Miami's entire culture and his presence is the biggest reason the Heat have become a real contender in the East. Siakam's played a major role but is it significantly more than that of Kyle Lowry or Nick Nurse or the collective group as a whole? I'm not so sure.
Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): I keep going back and forth whether or not Siakam should start in the All-Star Game.
Siakam was a lock in my eyes prior to his injury, but he missed 10 games between December and January, and he hasn't been quite the same player since. Whereas he averaged 25.1 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game prior to the injury, he's averaged 16.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in the six games since.
His efficiency has also declined, with him shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 20.0 percent from 3-point range during this recent stretch.
That's enough for Butler to be ahead of Siakam in my rankings for who is a more deserving starter in this year's All-Star Game, making this between Siakam and Embiid for the third and final spot in the Eastern Conference frontcourt.
Micah laid out the case for Embiid above. As compelling as it is - I have no doubt that he's the better player when he's firing on all cylinders - I feel like Siakam has been more consistent than Embiid this season, which has helped the Raptors shatter preseason expectations. He's also played a few more games and just under 200 more minutes.
That's enough for Siakam to get the slide edge for me, although I don't feel very confident as I'm writing it.
Either way, Siakam is without a shadow of a doubt an All-Star this season, whether it's as a starter or a reserve.
Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay): The answer is yes and if I could use a curse word here to emphasize my resounding "yes," I would have.
Pascal Siakam has been incredible for the Raptors all year. He's averaging a career-high in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals. He's put the Raptors on his back on a nightly basis with Kawhi Leonard now plying his trade on the left coast.
His improvements to his game have not only kept the Raptors in the playoff hunt in the East but kept them in the conversation as teams to come out of the East.
I know defence isn't sexy in All-Star Games, but defensively Siakam has improved too, helping power Toronto the second-best defence in the league.
Siakam has made strides to improve his game in every aspect and his team continues to win at a high level. I know he's missed games (11), but so have other frontcourt players like Joel Embiid (15) and Jimmy Butler (7).
Siakam has taken the leap and now he deserves the recognition for his progress.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.