The hopes of the Toronto Raptors' future as a team have been tied to Pascal Siakam. The former All-Star and NBA champion has shown glimpses of being a superstar in the league and is still very young into his career.
Siakam has been in the league for a few years now and has shown flashes of brilliance for the Toronto Raptors. In fact, he was a crucial part of their 2019 NBA championship team.
The following season, Siakam became an All-Star for the first time in his career and helped the Toronto Raptors secure the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors were eliminated in the NBA Playoffs by the Boston Celtics in a series that eventually went 7 games, but Siakam performed well during the post-season run.
The 2020-21 season proved to be a difficult one for Siakam and the Raptors. The Raptors were forced to play in Tampa Bay, as Canada's COVID-19 protocols meant that hosting games in the city would be difficult.
On top of that, the departures of Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol left them short in the squad. The Raptors missed the NBA playoffs in 2021. And going into the new season, they will be without Kyle Lowry, who joined the Miami Heat.
But playing once again in Toronto will be a big boost to the Raptors. Siakam chronicled his return to Toronto in a recent vlog. Toward the end of the vlog (3:26), Siakam enters the city's subway for the first time. Siakam had a candid and hilarious reaction to riding the subway, being shocked that he had to pay to use it.
"Oh you gotta pay for this?"
The Raptors have shown great faith in Siakam, choosing to build around him as they go forward. In fact, the Raptors had the opportunity to retain Kawhi Leonard in the summer of 2019 but refused to trade Siakam to bring in Paul George as Kawhi had asked for.
Going forward, the Raptors plan to help Siakam grow into a consistent All-Star, All-NBA level player. But in order to maximize his true potential, they will need to surround him with a fellow All-Star, especially if they want to compete in a now-loaded Eastern Conference.