Success is hitting Pascal Siakam quickly.
Achieving NBA All-Star Starter status for the 2020 season seems like all but a natural progression given the recent quantum leaps in his journey. He became an NBA champion in June after playing a key role for the Raptors and has since been thrust into the stardom spotlight in Toronto following the departure of Kawhi Leonard.
On the campaign, Siakam is averaging 23.5 points on a 45/37/81 shooting clip to go with 7.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1 block and 1 steal. With strong numbers across the board, it’s no wonder he’s deserving of such a selection.
As evidenced by his rise from Cameroon, Africa onto the national NBA stage, Siakam is no stranger to breaking barriers. With this latest honor, Siakam becomes the first NBA G League alum to become an NBA All-Star Game Starter.
Following fellow alum Khris Middleton’s selection as an All-Star reserve last season — at the time, Middleton was the first NBA G League alum to make an All-Star team — it was only a matter of time before someone else took the next step. Given all that Siakam continued to achieve and all the accolades he’s garnered along the way, one could argue that he rapidly became a perfect candidate.
Here’s a look at his rise, starting with his first steps on the minor league hardwood.
- Making his NBA G League Debut: Siakam made his NBA G League debut as an NBA assignee on February 23, 2017, scoring 15 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in a win for the Raptors 905. He went on to average 18.2 points and 8.6 rebounds during the regular season, providing the first signs of foreshadowing that such success would follow in the NBA.
- Becoming a Champion (The First Time): Alongside fellow assignee Fred VanVleet, Siakam led the Raptors 905 to the NBA G League championship, appearing in the playoffs and subsequently earning Finals MVP award honors, averaging 24.5 points and 8.5 rebounds. Again, these numbers look familiar in hindsight.
- NBA Playing Time Earned: Siakam’s NBA G League success led him to increased playing time at the next level the following year (2017-18), appearing in 81 games and averaging 7.3 points and 4.5 rebounds.
- Increased Validation: Siakam made major strides in 2018-19 and this is when those watching really began to take notice. Averaging 16.9 points on 55% shooting and 6.9 rebounds, he went on to win the NBA’s Most Improved Player award.
- Inching Closer to Stardom: In Game 1 of the 2019 NBA Finals, Siakam made quite the splash with a 32-point, eight-rebound performance. He became the 7th player in NBA Finals history to score 30+ points on 80% shooting or better, in addition to other special feats. With these numbers, he’s joined elite company, included the likes of Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Adrian Dantley and Toni Kukoc.
- Becoming a Champion (Again): In addition to his historic Game 1 performance, Siakam’s clutch outings continued as he helped the Raptors secure their first NBA championship in franchise history.
- Making History In A New Way: Siakam is the first NBA G League alum to become an NBA All-Star Starter.
As Siakam’s journey progresses, he’s clearly no stranger to accomplishing things no one before him ever has. His pioneering ways are continuing with each passing step.