Pascal Siakam’s All-Star selection is the Raptors season

Finally, some conceptual symmetry for the Toronto Raptors.

We were very close to seeing Pascal Siakam become the first player to ever average at least 25-8-5 to not be selected in the All-Star game. When the first returns came back around, he was left out. The statistical footnote is fun and quippy, but the truth is that despite Siakam's overall brilliance this season, a prolonged slump and the Raptors increasingly disappointing record had fully halted all of the momentum that he had spent building up prior to the New Year.

No longer on the box-score-calculated MVP trackers or spoken about by a vast array of journalists, Siakam wasn't good enough to completely overshadow everything that was going on with the Raptors. The narrative had abandoned him, and it had found its footing elsewhere in Toronto, and for off-court reasons.

 “To be fair on this team, I think I hadn’t done my part, maybe, for this team to, maybe play a little bit better. I think we needed a big like Jak to protect the rim.... we needed to at least give them some chance with a big rim protector there, and see what this team does.”

Masai Ujiri

Leading the league in minutes per game once again and near the top of the league in miles traveled, Siakam started to wear that fatigue on every possession he played. Fouling out of a handful of games, getting to the less dangerous spots on the floor, hitting less often with the jumper, taking less shots at the rim, and creating less for others. He was, in fact, fading the same way the Raptors were - only with less drama.

"Let's have all five guys look like him (Scottie) and OG and Pascal and all that."

Bobby Webster

Numbers only mean something when they're paired with winning. Bradley Beal was the first player to ever miss the All-Star game while averaging 30ppg for this reason. The Raptors have quietly become a good offense (by the numbers) and that surge in offensive firepower wasn't coupled with excitement anywhere. The Raptors were the team to talk about for completely separate reasons: Title chances shift at the trade deadline, and how the Raptors went about their business could've created massive swings for other teams.

I remember watching Planet Earth as a kid and seeing a video of the carcass of a Sperm Whale at the bottom of the ocean, where every living thing saw it as an unprecedented feast. A typically barren ecosystem was suddenly Times Square, teeming with life. The NBA at large -- the other 29 teams -- looked at the Raptors in a similar vein. The collective wanted to devour the Raptors for their own gain. The path of rebirth wasn't chosen, though. Decay was put off. Instead, the Raptors traded for Jakob Poeltl, and Siakam was named an All-Star in the same 24 hour span.

11 thoughts on “Pascal Siakam’s All-Star selection is the Raptors season”

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