I think it’s safe to say that the Toronto Raptors exceeded all expectations in 2021-22 — and the positives just keep coming! The latest is the news that Pascal Siakam was named to the All-NBA Third Team.
It’s a well-deserved honour for Siakam, who — after missing the first few weeks of the season recovering from offseason shoulder surgery — went on to average 22.8 points, 8.5 rebounds (a career high) and 5.3 assists (also a career high) and 1.3 steals (ALSO a career high!), in 66 games. In fact, if we only look at Siakam’s numbers from December onward — skipping the first handful of games where he was still getting in shape from missing training camp — the numbers balloon to 23.8, 8.8, and 5.6! Siakam went on to average 22.8, 7.2 and 5.8 in six playoff games as well.
Sounds like an All-NBA resume to me!
All told, SIakam was one of only five players to average 22/8/5 this season: MVP Nikola Jokic, former MVPs Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James, and likely future MVP Luka Doncic. Pretty damn good company!
This is Siakam’s second All-NBA selection; he made the All-NBA second team following the Raptors’ 2019-20 “Victory Lap” season. He becomes the third Raptor ever to make multiple All-NBA teams, joining Vince Carter and DeMar DeRozan. (Here’s where I chime in to say it’s a crime that Kyle Lowry only ever made one All-NBA team!)
And, of course, we can’t let this post go by without mentioning the Bubble and the Tampa Tank season; Siakam was not himself in either scenario, with both his attitude and his play falling below the usual high standards he’s set for himself. For him to bounce back and have this good a season — especially after the treatment he got from some “fans” after his poor play, not to mention the offseason shoulder surgery — is one heck of a feel-good story. I can’t help but be happy for the guy, and I hope all Raptors fans feel the same.
Joining Siakam on the third team are LeBron James, Karl-Anthony Towns, Trae Young and Chris Paul.
Rounding out the first two teams, we have Antetokounmpo, Jokic, Doncic, Jayson Tatum and Devin Booker on the first; and Kevin Durant, Joel Embed, Ja Morant, Stephen Curry and our old friend DeRozan on the second.
With a 48-34 record, a fifth-seed, an All-Star (Fred VanVleet), a Rookie of the Year and All-Rookie first teamer (Scottie Barnes) and now an All-NBA player, I’m comfortable calling the 2021-22 season an outright winner for the Toronto Raptors.