Pascal Siakam wasn’t on anyone’s radar for the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft, anyone except Raptors president and general manager Masai Ujiri who thought the 22-year-old big man from Cameroon was good enough to take with the 27th overall pick. Defense and rebounding go a long ways in Toronto these days, but despite numerous mock draft comments to the contrary, Siakam is more than just a rim protector and garbageman in the paint, he does have a jump shot as well.
Siakam spoke with CNNE.com’s A. Sherrod Blakely in June about his jump shot,
“I have pretty good form when you look at my shot,” he said. “The role that I had in college, I didn’t have to shoot a lot of jumpers. From my freshman year to my sophomore year I improved a lot on my shot. And I know it’s going to keep on improving. The form is there. It’s just about getting reps and consistency.”
As a freshman at New Mexico State, Siakam took 59.3 percent of his shots at the rim and connected on 69.8 percent of them. Hoop-Math.com reports he hit 39.7 percent of his jump shots in 2014-15, but didn’t make a three-pointer. However, he wasn’t incompetent from 15 feet out, hitting on over 75 percent of his free throws.
Siakam extended his range and took more shots away from the rim as a sophomore as he led the WAC in field goals, field goal attempts and points scored. He only took 36.7 percent of his shots at the rim, connecting on 73.3 percent. 60.4 percent of his shots were two-point jumpers on which he shot a respectable 43.8 percent. He also attempted 15 three-pointers and made 3.
Bleacher Report’s C.J. Moore reported on the changes to Siakam’s game in March,
“The main thing that impressed me on him was the fact that he made the big leap in improvement hitting the 12- to 15-foot jumper,” a scout told B/R. “Last year, he was a guy that didn’t shoot that shot and now he’s a guy who has a very good-looking jump shot.”
“He’s definitely an NBA-caliber player,” Baylor coach Scott Drew told Bleacher Report. “The thing that sticks out to me is how much he’s improved in the last year. The first time we played him [in 2014-15], he spent most of his time in the paint.
“But this season he moved away from the basket. He was putting the ball on the floor, taking longer jumpers—but still mixing it up down low, too. He’s got a more versatile skill set now, which makes him dangerous because it means he can play multiple positions.”
Ujiri just might have picked up on something other GM’s had overlooked as Draft Express was reporting his jump shot still leaves a lot to be desired.
He’s not much of a jump shooter yet… his mechanics are inconsistent and need to be tweaked before he turns into a threat as a shooter.
Selling Raptors head coach Dwane Casey on Siakam would have been relatively easy. He led the WAC in blocks (2.2) and rebounds (11.6) and his defensive rating was a conference best 86.7. For a player with a motor that doesn’t stop, Siakam was doing it all in college on both ends of the court. He’s looking to surprise everyone with that jump shot few people think he has.