Friday, September 30, 2022

Raptors teammates believe Siakam has what it takes to become an NBA top-5 player. CBC Sports

Pascal Siakam doesn’t get beaten up for going to the gym in the morning.

The Toronto Raptors forward is setting the pace at training camp in Victoria, leaving first and last in practice. Siakam at Media Day on Monday described being a top five player in the NBA as a big goal. His peers believe he has the work ethic to get there.

“Pascal is one of the hardest workers I have ever seen – ever,” said Khem Birch. “When he wakes up in the morning, I don’t think he eats breakfast or does stretches. He exercises, works out for hours before exercise, and then works out for an hour after exercise. I’ve never done anything like this.” Not seen.

“I think he’s going to be very special, coming soon. It’s going to be a really big year for him.”

Siakam, 28, was named the league’s best player in the 2019 Raptors championship season, and earned All-Star honors the following year. He has been All-NBA twice in the last three seasons.

He had a tough time in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and was the target of racists on social media after struggling in the NBA bubble in 2020.

Siakam got off to a slow start last season after missing the first 10 games due to training camp and off-season shoulder surgery, but came back to average 22.8 points and a career-high 8.5 rebounds.

“I think it is time to take one more step. I have always believed in him. I have tried to take one more step every year,” Siakam said at the media day on Monday. “After the year that I had, I feel like there are a lot of things I can get better at, and the next step, like I’ve been an All-NBA, is I’m an All-Star. I’m a I want to be the top-five player in the league. I want to be one of the best, and I will do everything I can to work towards that.

“I think I’m ready for, yeah, it’s time.”

‘Addicted to that feeling of being great’

He detailed his top five goals after Thursday’s practice at the University of Victoria.

“I don’t think I need to explain myself, I just said what I said,” he said. “I just want to be a better player… and I think we have to win as a team. Obviously, I have goals individually but it doesn’t matter until we get to that point.” Whether we’re the top team in the league or we’re on top. That will come with everything else.”

look | Siakam posted a triple-double against 76:

Siakam’s monster triple-double propels the Raptors past the 76ers

Toronto beat Philadelphia 119–114, Pascal Siakam posted a record 37 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists for his third career triple-double.

Raptors’ new assistant coach Rico Hines, who has worked with Siakam every off-season since 2016, said he has noticed a change in mindset in the Cameroonian forward.

“He’s always been a good guy. And now he’s getting a little mean. And that’s cool,” Hines said. “We want them to keep growing in that aspect, because that’s what’s needed for you to be one of the elite… we talk a lot [about] Getting used to being great and getting used to that feeling of being great, and that’s the biggest growth I’ve seen.”

Hines said Siakam has always been a hard worker, and has been so at Victoria’s camp.

Hines said, “He’s here two hours before practice, and he’s completely sweaty before we even started practice. That’s it.”

Siakam, who was drafted 27th overall in 2016 and, like All-Star guard Fred VanVleet, worked his way through the team’s G League affiliate Raptors 905, was asked if his work ethic was in the camp. Can rub off on young players.

“I’m not super talkative, and I believe that every day they come and see me, every day I’m the first one at the gym, I guess that just shows them… take it from just looking at my work And how I believe in what I do.”

The Raptors will travel to Edmonton on Saturday to host the Utah Jazz in their pre-season opener on Sunday.

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