In the least surprising news out of the NBA that I can remember, Pascal Siakam has been named the Eastern Conference’s Player of the Week.
He accomplished it through absolute domination. Siakam averaged 38.8 points per game, the most in the league over that stretch. His 10.3 rebounds per game tied for 10th in the league. His 7.3 assists per game tied for 20th. And he did it all well shooting a fairly pedestrian (for him) 52.7 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from 3-point range. This wasn’t an absurd hot streak, but merely a player at the peak of his game doing what he does best. He did attempt 12.3 free throws per game, which is exceptionally high for him, but serves to show both his ability to manipulate defenses and the respect he’s earning from referees.
The highlight of his week was certainly 52 points at Madison Square Garden, which is a surefire declaration of superstardom to the entire NBA.
And even more important, the Raptors went 2-1 the past week, snapping a six-game winning streak and keeping Toronto alive in the hunt in the playoff race. Toronto now stands 2.5 games behind the New York Knicks for sixth place in the East. Despite the slide, the Raptors are significantly better positioned to reach the playoffs via the traditional route, rather than the play-in tournament, than they were a week ago.
This is the fifth time in Siakam’s career he has won Player of the Week honours and the first since February of 2022. The Raptors next play on Tuesday Dec. 27 against the Los Angeles Clippers, and the game will be in Toronto.