While the discussion about the merit of all-star games always seems to be had around this time of year, it’s tough to argue that being named a starter for the NBA’s version of a glorified scrimmage isn’t an honour. In a league with so many talented individuals, to be identified by fans, media and your fellow players as the the cream of the crop is something that should be recognized and celebrated.
On Thursday, Pascal Siakam was named an Eastern Conference starter for the mid-February NBA All-Star Game to be held in Chicago. Adding to the special moment was the fact that his brother was at his side when he found out.
Pascal Siakam finds out he’s an All-Star starter pic.twitter.com/myShLHzQH4— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) January 24, 2020
Just like everyone else, Siakam had to wait for the announcement on ESPN’s NBA Tip-Off. Once he saw his name appear on the screen, it was tough to whip the smile off his face as the celebration began.
This is just the latest chapter in the jaw-dropping trajectory the 25-year-old’s career has been following.
He made enormous strides last season. Shortly after helping the Raptors win their first NBA championship in franchise history, Siakam was named the league’s Most Improved Player in June. He’s simply refused to stop getting better, though.
Through 33 games this season, he’s averaging career-highs in points (23.5), rebounds (7.7), assists (3.5), steals (1.0), blocks (1.0) and minutes played (35.2). He’s scored at least 10 points in every game that he’s appeared in and collected 30 or more on 10 occasions.
He’s become ‘the guy’ in Toronto following the departure of Kawhi Leonard in the summer. There’s no doubt about it. What makes the Raptors’ 30-14 record all the more impressive, though, is the fact Siakam has missed 11 games due to a groin injury.
While having family there for the announcement must have been great, he reflected on those that couldn’t be with him after getting a few moments to let the news settle in.
“I kind of hate, like, every time there's a big moment, it feels like there's something missing,” Siakam said in reference to his late father, Tchamo, according to Doug Smith. “But I know, I know he's here, I know he's watching me. I can feel his presence.”
Siakam joins team captain and reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers, Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks and Kemba Walker of the Boston Celtics as the Eastern Conference’s starters.
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