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The major issues have come when the six-time all-star sits. Fellow all-star Pascal Siakam has not carried units as the lead dog.
Siakam has had a weird start. He’s looked far more energetic and locked-in and appears to be having more fun than he did in the bubble, but he’s also been a bit error-prone, has been mad at the officiating and has completely faded the later into games he gets. Is it fatigue? Frustration? This wasn’t the Siakam we saw to start the 2019-20 campaign. That Siakam was a Top 10 MVP candidate after the first month or so.
This guy has looked solid in first quarters: (20 points on 9/16 shooting, 13 rebounds and seven assists against three turnovers, plus-15), less so in second quarters (5/18 from the field, eight rebounds, two assists, three turnovers, -9), good shooting but overall ineffectiveness in third quarters (18 points on 7/13 shooting, 3 rebounds, two assists, two turnovers, -19) and awful to close games (two points in 27 fourth quarter minutes, including zero, yes, zero, trips to the free throw line, three turnovers, three assists, 1/9 from the field and an ugly -20).
To sum up: Siakam is -39 in the second half of the first three games, +6 in the first two quarters, has not gotten to the free throw line once in the first or fourth quarter of any game and committed five fouls in the final seven minutes of Tuesday’s loss.
He also hasn’t been the all-world defender he has been the past few seasons (torched by Brandon Ingram, Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons).