Imman Adan is joined by Kashtin to analyze Pascal Siakam's style of being an offensive hub and his future with the Toronto Raptors. Listen to the full episode on the 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast feed.
IMMAN ADAN: Is Pascal Siakam someone that you can build around? And is this a team that works around him? And i-- i listened to the "Bob McCown" podcast this morning. And he had Doug Smith and Mike Lagrange on. And they talked the Raptors, which I thought was really great. And there was a lot of interesting tidbits in it.
And one of them was the fact that the Raptors feel like they're not commanding these calls. Because they don't have a superstar on their team that can do that. And they don't believe that they maybe have a top 10 or top 15 guy. And that kind of perked my ears up. I don't think that was meant on the pod. I don't think they were saying that as an indictment on Pascal Siakam.
IMMAN ADAN: But as someone who came into the league saying that he wanted to be, what, a top five player, for the organization to kind of be saying that they don't think that they have a top 10 or top 15 player. What are your thoughts on something like that? Do you think that Pascal Siakam is that guy? And I think with top 15, it's just-- to say you don't have a top 15 player, like, you might have a top 16. Like, that's just sort of, like, rough. I think that it's, like, do we have the Kawhi Leonard? No, but we have a Pascal Siakam, and that's pretty good. What are your thoughts?
KASHTIN: So I think he's in the conversation.
IMMAN ADAN: Yeah.
KASHTIN: He is in All-NBA conversation, you know, two of the last three seasons. He's in it again this season, especially if they go on a run in these last 10, 12 games. So that, to me, means you're a top 15 player, if you're routinely in the conversation for one of the top 15 spots in the League.
IMMAN ADAN: He made-- he made--
KASHTIN: By definition--
IMMAN ADAN: --the All-NBA 2 of the last 3 years.
KASHTIN: Yeah. By definition, you're a top 15. Now, I think where we lose the plot a little bit is if you're not Kawhi Leonard, who, by all accounts, is one of the all-time great players in League history, you're therefore not worthy of building around.
IMMAN ADAN: Yeah.
KASHTIN: And I think the question then becomes, if you're not, you know-- you're not an all-time great. And again, I don't want to rule anything out for Pascal Siakam. This is Pascal propaganda, after all. If he sets in his mind--
IMMAN ADAN: But also, this is a player who was the 27th overall champ pick.
KASHTIN: Yeah, that's it.
IMMAN ADAN: That's, like, anyone who's ever put a cap on Pascal Siakam looks foolish right now.
KASHTIN: Oh, for sure. Like I-- like, I am-- I would consider myself one of the bigger Pascal Siakam fans. I'm up there, I'd say.
IMMAN ADAN: Ithink so.
KASHTIN: The night he got drafted, I have my real GM Forum receipts, you know, showing my age a little bit. But I said, wow, he kind of reminds me of Tristan Thompson. I think this could be a good pick.
IMMAN ADAN: Ooh.
KASHTIN: And-- right? And, like, think about, only he has the-- anyways. So if he says he's gonna be top five, I-- who am I to doubt him? But if you say, well, we're not sure he's ever gonna be that. What is he, then? And you then ask the question, how does he age as a player? And there are players who, as they get older, naturally, you know, resist the aging curve. You think of, you know, Allen Iverson, You know, you kind of look at what Russell Westbrook has gone through a little bit.
IMMAN ADAN: Yeah.
KASHTIN: And then you look at other players who, you know, embrace that aging curve a little bit more, like Dwyane Wade, to me, and the role he took on with LeBron James, where he was the it guy. He was a top five MVP-type player. He said let me be something else to make this team a success.
And all of Pascal Siakam's comments all throughout this season and predating the '21-'22 season have been. I want to be in Toronto. I want to help this team win. No matter what. And I'm ready to be the kind of player this team needs me to be. And I think if, you're looking at Scottie Barnes as, could he be that next guy, I don't see Pascal Siakam as being resistant to allowing--
IMMAN ADAN: Yeah, and we're seeing it in the fourth. We're seeing one quarter already.
KASHTIN: 100%. So I guess the question is, so what? If he's not that superstar player that you think he is, what's the consequence of that? And if the consequence is it hampers the development of your team, then that's a conversation. But, by all accounts and by every indication we've seen on the court, it's not. It's only going to make his life easier for Scottie. It's only gonna make the life easier of whoever we pick in the top 16 or so in the Draft this year. So that will be my-- I gave you a very political answer, I just didn't answer it.
IMMAN ADAN: No, I think I--
KASHTIN: It's propaganda or something.
IMMAN ADAN: [LAUGHS] It worked. But, no, I think that that's incredibly fair. But I-- my biggest issue with it is-- I agree with you. I would start off by saying, who cares? I think that that would be the initial point is, like, who cares? But also, he is your best player.
IMMAN ADAN: And he has played at a top 15 level. He has played at a top 10 level. We've seen the best from Pascal Siakam. We've seen the highs. And it's, well, what can you put around him to make sure that you're maximizing that. And I think, for a team that has built around DeMar DeRozan, who was never a top 10 player, for a team that has built around other guys, what you learn is you just build and create the best team that you possibly can.
And if Pascal Siakam is your DeMar DeRozan and you have to trade him to get your Kawhi Leonard down the road, OK, so be it. But you still are not whiffing on building the most competitive team that you can build. Because he's still your best player. And you don't have any one down the line or that you can get that's better than him right now.
The idea that you're just gonna go through the Draft and get it, I mean, like, [LIGHT SIGH]. I don't know, you're gonna play the Minnesota Timberwolves next. Ask them how long that's taken them, right, like, the next team that we're gonna talk about. It's really hard to do that. They had-- number one, they had three number one picks on their team, at one point, and still had one of the longest playoff droughts in NBA history, three number one overall picks on the same team at the same time.
And still, so they're just banking on the Draft is not a winning solution or a winning formula. What the Raptors are doing has been a winning solution and has been a winning formula. So why abandon it, especially for someone who's as talented as great as Pascal Siakam, where the sky really is the limit with him?
KASHTIN: Well, I mean, and the proof is with the Timberwolves saying, forget the Draft. We want Rudy Gobert.
IMMAN ADAN: Yeah, yeah, eventually, they--
KASHTIN: So get rid of all of them. We don't need them.
IMMAN ADAN: Proof that that is not a winning strategy is the fact that they've just given up on the Draft entirely. They're like, it hasn't helped us. [GIGGLES]
KASHTIN: Yea. And, like, one-- I can hear-- I know what the, sort of, reply to a lot of that is. Like, well, the Raptors, if the Raptors are so good at drafting, then, you know, why not put your faith in Masai and Bobby? And I think--
IMMAN ADAN: I think drafting late and drafting early is completely different, though.
KASHTIN: For sure. And the other thing, too, is, as good a drafting you think you are, it's going to be a matter of luck. It's gonna be a matter of circumstance, no matter what happens. Like, there are great players who get drafted and they wind up in the wrong situation. And they toil away for years, and they go to a second and third team, and then it clicks.
And you look at Kyle-- I mean, I don't need to tell you. You know about Kyle Lowry, a little bit. [LAUGHS]
IMMAN ADAN: That I like propaganda?
IMMAN ADAN: I'll take that. I'll take that.
KASHTIN: There you go So I think--
IMMAN ADAN: His offense is running. Just, anyone who's not paying attention to Miami Heat, I mean, their offense has been looking stellar.
IMMAN ADAN: And it's coincided with someone's return.
IMMAN ADAN: Might just be a coincidence.
KASHTIN: I think Udonis Haslem's probably back, you know, suiting up--
IMMAN ADAN: [LAUGHS]
IMMAN ADAN: Might be.
KASHTIN: It's just veteran leadership. It's really good.
But, no, I-- yeah, I think, is he top 10, top 15? We've been having this con-- at a certain point, he'll either do it and it will be irrefutable. Or he won't and it'll be a debate still.
IMMAN ADAN: Yeah.
KASHTIN: Because, you know, you look at Kyle Lowry, I think the perfect example there was, oh, is he a playoff performer? And until he was holding a Larry O'Brien Trophy in his hands--
IMMAN ADAN: Which is so stupid, guys.
KASHTIN: --and hoisting It to the crowd--
IMMAN ADAN: Ugh.
KASHTIN: But then it's like, for those five minutes, wow, what a playoff performer. [GIGGLES]
IMMAN ADAN: Like, the fact that the conversation on him has completely changed and then it was like, well, you know, all these teams need a Kyle Lowry in the playoffs. Yeah, it's great. Win a championship, and then everyone forgets everything. Unless you win a championship in your third season, then, unfortunately, you're left having to prove everything for the rest of your career.
KASHTIN: Oh, last thing, because I you want to talk about the Minnesota Timberwolves, and I [INAUDIBLE]. So cut me off.
IMMAN ADAN: No, no worries.
KASHTIN: But the thing I absolutely love is this whole, like, Pascal's scared of the lights. You know, it's, like a Wednesday night in, like, I don't know, Oklahoma City. Like, pick a random city. And I'm like, this guy closed Oracle. Like, literally he's scared of the light. That's bad.
IMMAN ADAN: Like, his first Finals game against the, what, two, three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Draymond Green, put up his career high. Like, talk about big bright light.
KASHTIN: If you want to know my origin story as a Pascal stand, I was at that game. Like, in person--
IMMAN ADAN: Ooh!
KASHTIN: --I was like, if you touched the court in that series, I'm defending you for life. And if you put up 32 on 14 to 17 in your first Finals game like it was nothing, I don't know, sorry, you're a Raptor lifer for me. Like, you got a defender forever. So he was special.
IMMAN ADAN: [INAUDIBLE]. He was so special. So it's so crazy. Can you win with him in the playoff? Uh, it's been done. It's been done
KASHTIN: History, right there.