The Toronto Raptors will take whatever they can get from Pascal Siakam next season. After all, the 6-foot-10 Cameroonian big man will be the focal focus of their offense, now that Kawhi Leonard is with the Los Angeles Clippers.

But advanced metrics indicate Siakam will need the help of a former All-Star whose role has shifted from a walking double-double man to someone who unlocks the potential of players around him.

In his latest piece on the Ringer, NBA writer Jonathan Tjarks talked about Marc Gasol’s imprints on Spain at the FIBA World Cup, and the impact he will bring to Siakam’s development into a reliable go-to-scorer for the Raptors.

By crunching the numbers Siakam produced with Gasol on the court and off the court, Tjarks found out that there’s a big jump in the lanky forward's net rating and true shooting whenever he played together with Big Spain.

“There are a couple of factors at play. Siakam loves to put the ball on the floor and attack the rim, so it’s important to play him with a center who can shoot well enough to drag his defender out of the paint.

And while Siakam is a good passer who can find the open man when the defense collapses on his drives, he’s not a point forward like Giannis Antetokounmpo or Ben Simmons. Siakam needs other players who can keep everyone else involved in the offense and set him up from time to time,” Tjarks wrote on The Ringer.

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Gracefully aging

Gasol, who averaged 9.4 points and 6.4 rebounds throughout the Raptors’ title-clinching run in the playoffs, may never become a double-double threat or a defensive lynchpin like he used to be. Still, it’s evident that he can still impact the game in other ways.

Micah Adams of NBA.com pointed out that Spain, which just punched their ticket to the FIBA World Cup semifinal, might have provided Nick Nurse and his coaching staff the blueprint on how to effectively use the gracefully aging Gasol.

“Based on how it has played whenever the Raptors center has been off the floor, Spain has no business being undefeated at the FIBA World Cup. And yet once again, Marc Gasol's brilliance is proving to be the difference for an opportunistic team suddenly in the mix to win it all,” Adams stated in his article.

Indispensible asset

Masai Ujiri traded for Gasol at the trade deadline not because he could still chalk up 20-points, 10-rebounds games but because of the intangibles he could bring to the table.

And Gasol just did that by controlling Joel Embiid in the conference semis with the Sixers and capitalizing on the Warriors’ lean interior in the NBA Finals.

Leonard might have been the lead star on the Raptors’ first-ever NBA championship, but Gasol wonderfully did his job too on a supporting role.

Entering what analysts called a “bridge year” for Toronto, the front office will have to decide at some point next season whether to keep their veteran in town or push the youth movement button.

The Raptors aren’t going anywhere. They are still a formidable playoff contender in the East, but there’s no denying Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers are the clear-cut favorites entering the 2019-20 NBA season.

Gasol will pocket $25.5 million next season after exercising his option on the fifth and final year of his current deal. Veterans on expiring deals are usually prime trade candidates as they entice space-clearing teams, but that might not be the case for Gasol. Ujiri is smart to understand that he has an indispensable asset who can still play an important part on the team. There’s even the possibility of keeping him beyond next season on a much cheaper deal after forming a stronger relationship in Toronto.

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