Raptors forward Pascal Siakam named to All-NBA Second Team

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Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam was named to the 2019-20 All-NBA Second Team, the league announced on Wednesday.

Siakam received 102 votes for a total of 168 points, which placed him slightly ahead of both Jayson Tatum and Jimmy Butler for the last forward slot on the second team. The votes were cast before the restart of the NBA season on March 11. Through that portion of the season, Siakam averaged 23.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists as the go-to scorer for a Raptors team that held the third-best record in the league through 64 games. Siakam also led the league in 3-point shots contested and his activity and versatility was one of the main reasons why the Raptors held the second-ranked defence.

Siakam becomes just the sixth player in franchise history to win All-NBA honours, joining Vince Carter, Chris Bosh, DeMar DeRozan, Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry. Through a clause in his maximum contract extension signed last summer, Siakam will now receive a raise in his annual salary, from $27 million to $30 million for next year as he enters the first season of a four-year, $130-million deal.

It’s worth noting that Siakam’s performance dipped after the restart. His averages tailed off across the board in the eight seeding games, and his shortcomings were on full display in Toronto’s bitter seven-game series loss to Boston, where Tatum easily outperformed him. Siakam vowed after the series he would continue to improve, which is a good bet given his history as the 2018-19 Most Improved Player. Siakam only started playing basketball at the age of 16, and was picked 27th overall in 2016. In just the last two seasons, Siakam went from being a bench player to becoming an important starter on a championship team, to then becoming the go-to player. His ascent wasn’t enough to carry the Raptors past the Celtics this season, but it is still nothing short of astounding.

Lowry was also in contention for All-NBA honours, as the 34-year-old turned in a throwback effort this season in leading the team in Leonard’s absence. Lowry’s boxscore numbers weren’t as flashy as others at his position, but he managed 19.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 7.5 assists while also making significant defensive contributions. For his efforts, Lowry garnered one second-team selection and an additional 17 third-team nods, but he fell way short of Russell Westbrook for the last guard spot on the team.

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