Amit Mann and Jevohn Shepherd discuss why Pascal Siakam's numbers have dipped over the last few weeks and what it means about how other NBA teams respect his talents. Listen to the full episode on the 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast feed or watch on our YouTube.
AMIT MANN: Few more for you before I let you go. Pascal Siakam over his last 10 games, his field goal percentage has dipped to 44%. He's averaging 21.6 points per game, 8 rebounds, 6 assists. Teams are guarding him a little bit differently. They're making things a little bit harder on them. What are you seeing, and I guess what are the adjustments necessary for Pascal? Or is it more of a team thing to get him back to that 25+?
JEVOHN SHEPHERD: For one, I think, yeah, the numbers have dropped a bit, have dipped a bit, but I don't think that's a bad thing. That just tells me that he's garnered so much respect over for the first half of the season that teams are really starting to hone in.
Teams are really starting to put an asterisk beside his name on their scouting reports and build out their game plan surrounding him. So that to me just is actually-- you commend him and give him his flowers, right? Tip of respect, because he's established himself as that guy.
AMIT MANN: Yeah.
JEVOHN SHEPHERD: But now when you get to that point, just like some of the other greats, some of the other superstars in this league, you've got to identify OK, now how do I how do I counter that? Teams are starting to defend me different. Teams are starting to really load up on me. Teams are really starting to pack the paint as soon as I touch the basketball.
Teams are sometimes sending two at me, right, as soon as I get over half to get the ball out of my hands. These are all good things, because it means there's a level of respect that I've garnered across the league. But it also means that now I have to read the game different, right? I'm creating an advantage. I don't have to score on every opportunity.
But I can create an advantage for my teammates, right, and get the ball where it needs to be, get to those right places. Now it's on my teammates to make the shots that they're supposed to make as a supporting cast. Because as soon as they start doing that and do that at a high clip, teams now have to play a bit more honest again. And now I can use my skill set.
I'm the best one on one player, I'm the best isolation player on this team. Best scorer, best finisher. Then it comes right back to me, and now I get to do-- I get back to being spicy P, right? But there's a lot of pros to take from that, a lot of positives to take from that.
AMIT MANN: Sure.
JEVOHN SHEPHERD: And firstly it's the respect that I've earned across the league.
AMIT MANN: And he actually mentioned that, too. And that's what you love about his mentality this season is that he's not looking at this as, oh, I've got to fix this now. He's like, this is good. Right? I wanted this attention from teams, because I'm playing this well.
And what's different about him versus maybe some other superstars is that he is going to impact the game regardless. His one on one defense has been terrific. He's going to offensive rebound. He's going to get assists. He's going to do whatever it takes to win, and that's why he is the player that he is. That's why he's going to get that big old max in a couple of years.