Inside Pascal Siakam’s 6,000-mile journey to Raptors stardom

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Brown aims to body up this long drink of sinew and muscle and bone, but he errs by a half second to take measure of the Raptors’ animated big man. Siakam seizes on that glint of hesitation, unleashing a 360-degree spin move that is too quick, too fast, too explosive for Brown to counteract.

Siakam whirls to the basket, leaving Brown — and an incredulous Garden crowd — dumbfounded. “I’m so quick with it,” Pascal says, “it’s hard to recover from it.“cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

Like that spin move, Siakam’s career is exploding at warp speed, his trajectory as limitless as those long arms that afford him a 7-foot-3 wing span. Toronto has burst out of the blocks with a 20-4 mark, tops in the Eastern Conference, and while the chatter has rightfully centered on the blockbuster trade that netted the Raptors supernova Kawhi Leonard and valued veteran Danny Green, new head coach Nick Nurse, who traversed the country charting the offseason workouts of his players, came to an additional conclusion. “I knew,” Nurse says, “that Pascal would be a focal point for us.”9

Siakam’s NBA ascent has been astonishing, beginning in 2016 when he arrived as a raw 22-year-old whose energy and athleticism landed him in the starting lineup after Jared Sullinger, signed to be the team’s power forward, was injured.

For a Cameroonian kid who didn’t start playing organized basketball until he was nearly 18, Siakam’s rise through the ranks was almost too good to be true. It was. One day, Siakam recalls, Toronto president Masai Ujuri informed him he would be playing for the Raptors’ D League (now G League) affiliate that night.

Siakam swallowed his disappointment and reported to the Raptors 905. “Only one night,” he told himself. “You can do this.” But one night turned into a D League road trip, leaving Siakam a world away from the comforts of the NBA. He was angry, hurt, confused — but silent. What did he do wrong? He knew this much: It didn’t matter.

What he did from that moment on would define or derail his future with the team. “It was definitely my lowest point,” Siakam says, “but I’m built for moments like that. This is how my life has gone. I’ve always had to fight through everything.”

He snatched MVP honors with the Raptors 905, then emerged as a key cog in the Raptor’s Bench Mob last season. His game is a montage of motion and effort and explosiveness, the only missing component a reliable perimeter presence. “I can’t wait until I’m an elite shooter,” Siakam said in March.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

No matter that Siakam was statistically one of the worst 3-point shooter in the NBA last season. His effective field goal percentage, according to ESPN Stats & Information research, was 26 percent below that of an average player — far and away the lowest of anyone in the league.