The Toronto Raptors, now in a post-Kawhi Leonard world, are pinning their hopes on another breakout season from reigning Most Improved Player of the Year Pascal Siakam.

On his part, the 25-year-old Siakam is putting in the work to become “the Man” for the defending NBA champion this coming season and beyond.

And so far, hard work seems to be paying off as the 6-foot-11 Cameroonian big man busted out a variety of new skills set on the video taken during his Rico Hines run at UCLA this week.

The video clearly showed the facets of the game Siakam wants to improve on. He’s working on his post-up moves, face-up jumpers, and turn-around jumpers. These are the ideal skills set every go-to player should possess in his arsenal in order for him to become an effective scorer against any kinds of defenses.

Next step to be 'The Man'

After averaging career-highs 16.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game during the 2018-19 NBA season, Siakam is heavily expected to double these productions next season now that Kawhi Leonard, their top scorer from last season, left for the Los Angeles Clippers this summer.

Raptors head coach Nick Nurse also believed Siakam’s next step in his career is for him to accept the challenge as “the Man” for the Raptors.

Don’t miss the latest news!
Click on the topic you interest most. We'll keep you updated with all the news you shouldn't miss.
NBA

“I just think his next step in the progression is being ‘The Man,’” Nurse told Yahoo Sports Canada. “Instead of being a complementary guy next to ‘The Man,’ he’s gotta be ‘The Man’ — the primary scorer and the primary option and the late-game scorer.”

Nurse also thought Siakam would unlock other ways to score baskets if he can develop an in-between game that will make him a threat from the perimeter.

NBA expert Danny Chau of the Ringer had a discussion with his co-host Justin Verrier about how Siakam could take that next step in his development. Both Ringer experts agreed Siakam would need a dependable perimeter game to morph into an All-Star/ All-NBA type of a scorer.

“Pascal Siakam in the playoffs shot 27 percent from three. He shot 37 percent from three in the regular season, and 38 percent from the corners, but you really need him to kind of be a more dynamic shot creator from the distance for him to take that next level and be a three,” Chau opined on the Ringer podcast.

Waiting Game

Nurse understands that Siakam’s transformation into a do-it-all forward would allow him to experiment with a bigger lineup next season. The Raptors head coach told NBA Sr. Writer Jackie McMullan of ESPN that he’s seriously considering in moving Siakam to small forward with 7-footers Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol possibly manning the four and five spots, respectively.

Siakam, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, is eligible for an extension this offseason.

According to multiple sources, the Raptors would like to take a wait-and-see approach on Siakam, opting to figure out first what kind of player he will turn into this coming season before deciding on his long-term future.

Don't miss our page on Facebook!
Click to read more