Many players have been drafted late in the first round or in the second round of the NBA draft and have gone on to have success in the league. One of those players is Pascal Siakam.
If they had to do the 2016 NBA draft all over again, Siakam would not have gone late in the first round. But since he did, let’s take a look at the five players who were selected before him.
Pascal Siakam’s improvement throughout his NBA career
The Toronto Raptors selected Siakam with the 27th pick in the 2016 NBA draft out of New Mexico State University. Siakam enjoyed a successful career in college as he was named an AP Honorable mention All-American his final year at New Mexico State. The Raptors found a gem in Siakam late in the first round and made sure not to pass on that opportunity.
In his rookie season, Siakam split time in the starting lineup and coming off the bench. He appeared in 55 games averaging 4.3 points and 3.4 rebounds. Siakam also spent time playing the Raptors 905 of the then D-League. The 6-foot-9 forward would split time playing with the Raptors and the D-League team toward the end of the season. Siakam helped lead the Raptors 905 team to a D-League championship, and he was named the D-League Finals MVP after averaging 23 points and nine rebounds during the series.
During his second season in the NBA, he primarily came off the bench for the Raptors. His game improved in his second year, and he also saw his numbers improve as well. At the end of the 2017-18 season, Siakam averaged 7.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, and two assists. The next season was a big one for Siakam. He was put into the starting lineup for a team competing for an NBA championship. In his third season, he became a player who was effective on offense and defense. He was one of the best two-way players in the league. At the end of the regular season, his numbers shot up as he averaged 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists. He was named the Most Improved Player that season and what made things better is that the Raptors made their first NBA finals appearance in franchise history.
Siakam winning his first NBA title and making the All-Star team
During the finals, Siakam was the second-leading scorer on the team averaging 19.8 points as the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors to win their first title. In just three years, Siakam took his game to another level and quickly became one of the best players in the league.
Coming off an NBA championship, Siakam emerged as a top player for the Raptors at the start of the 2019-20 season. Siakam was off to a hot start in his fourth season. He was named to the All-Star team for the first time in his career, and before the season was halted, he was averaging 23.6 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.6 assists. The move to select Siakam in the draft has paid off well for the Raptors so far.
The five players selected before Pascal Siakam in the draft
Looking at how Siakam has improved over the last few years, you start to question how teams missed out on him early in the draft. He was the fourth to last pick in the first round of the 2016 draft. Looking at the five players selected before him, none of them have had the success that Siakam has had so far. Let’s take a look at those five players.
Malachi Richardson, Ante Zizic, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Brice Johnson, and Furkan Korkmaz were the five selected before Siakam. Three of the five that were taken before Siakam are currently in the league, and those are Ante Zizic (Cleveland Cavaliers), Furkan Korkmaz (Philadelphia 76ers), and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (Brooklyn Nets). Looking at that overall draft class, Siakam is a top-five player, and if you had to re-draft, he would go in the top 10 for sure.