Hello? If you’re reading this, and you plan on watching the 2022-23 Toronto Raptors face the Jalen Green-less Rockets on a Friday night — never let anybody tell you that you aren’t a true fan. You are a sicko. And I mean that with respect and admiration.
The Raptors — who you might recognize from various trade rumours and league sources — are currently 2-3 on their Western Conference road trip, with two games left on the trip. They have three total games before next Thursday’s trade deadline. So, in case anything happens, enjoy watching this core while you can!
Where to Watch:
TSN, 8:00pm EST
Toronto – Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent, Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, Precious Achiuwa
Houston – Daishen Nix, Eric Gordon, Kenyon Martin, Jabari Smith, Alperen Sengun
Toronto – O.G Anunoby (wrist - OUT), Otto Porter (foot - out for season)
Houston – Jalen Green (calf - OUT), Kevin Porter (foot - OUT)
Pascal Siakam... 2023 All-Star Snub
To be completely honest, I didn’t even entertain the possibility that Pascal Siakam would be left off the Eastern Conference All-Star roster. He’d be the first player with his current numbers (25/8/6) to ever be denied an All-Star spot. Only three other players in the NBA are currently averaging 20+ points, 8+ rebounds, and 6+ assists: Nikola Jokic, LeBron James, and Luka Doncic — a trio of All-Star starters in the West.
Siakam has dragged the Raptors’ offense with his league-leading minutes per game and versatile — and much-needed — creation skills. He’s scored 52 points at MSG, dunked on KD, and won an Eastern Conference Player of the Week. He’s averaging career highs in points, assists, free throws per game, and is top 20 in each of those categories. But the NBA’s head coaches decided it wasn’t enough, as Joel Embiid, Bam Adebayo, Jaylen Brown, Tyrese Haliburton, DeMar DeRozan, Jrue Holiday, and Julius Randle all got the nod over him. Somehow, 2x All-NBA Pascal Siakam has not made an All-Star team since before the bubble in 2020, despite his tremendous improvement as a player since then.
There are a number of takeaways to draw from this outcome. Firstly, it truly sucks when your team isn’t good. It’s not Siakam’s fault that the Raptors only roster approximately six rotation-level players. He’s been asked to do so much on both ends of the court for Toronto, and has thrived despite the insane workload. The Bucks are obviously a great team, but does that mean they automatically deserve two All-Stars? Siakam would absolutely be an All-Star in Jrue Holiday’s role, but could Holiday do what Siakam does? (No.)
The Raptors have unfortunately let Siakam down because, let’s face it, the coaches vote mostly based off the standings. Coaches are too busy focusing on their own team’s gameplan preparation to sit down and thoroughly compare dozens of players’ individual seasons. And that’s fair — that’s their job! But if All-Star appearances help decide players’ bonuses, legacies, and Hall of Fame cases, should they be voted on by coaches who are likely too busy to watch the other 29 teams’ best players?
There’s also the issue of All-Star roster expansion. All-Star rosters have held 12 players since 1968. 55 years have passed, and despite immense league expansion, the expansion of active NBA rosters from 12 to 13 players, and the invention of the internet, the league has resisted expanding the rosters to even 13 per conference. In the late-1960s, 24 out of 144 rostered NBA players were named All-Stars. That’s 16.7 percent. Today, 6.2 percent of active players (24 of 390) make the All-Star Game. The Siakam snub aside, it’s silly that the league hasn’t added new All-Star spots.
That being said, an extra player or two usually find their way into the game due to injury. There’s still hope for Siakam to make the All-Star team if Kevin Durant sits out with his knee injury. But with players like James Harden, Jimmy Butler, and Jalen Brunson on the board — all of whom play for better teams than the Raptors — I wouldn’t get my hopes up about Adam Silver choosing Siakam.
Hopefully, the All-Star snub will have lit a fire under Siakam and he can show the coaches their mistake against the Rockets. See! Something to keep an eye on tonight!