Author: Stephen Noh Date: 01-18-2024 Reading Time: 6 min
The need for a second star to support Tyrese Haliburton has been a priority for the Indiana Pacers, and Pascal Siakam emerges as a fitting choice. Following the recent trade talks reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Sam Amick, where Siakam was at the center of discussions involving three first-round picks, the deal has been finalized, as confirmed by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Pacers, historically challenged in attracting star players through free agency, find a solution in acquiring Siakam, a two-time All-NBA player and a proven scorer averaging 22.2 points per game this season. This partnership holds the potential to create a formidable duo with Haliburton. Here’s why Siakam and the Pacers are an ideal match:
1. Siakam and Haliburton Synergy:
- Siakam, accustomed to playing with point guards like Dennis Schroder and Fred VanVleet, now partners with Haliburton, providing him with a high-caliber playmaker. This collaboration is expected to yield easier scoring opportunities for Siakam.
- The pick-and-roll synergy between Siakam and Haliburton is anticipated to be lethal, with Siakam excelling as a roller, shooting 64.7% from the field in such plays. His efficiency ranks in the 81st percentile among all players, per NBA Stats.
- Siakam’s prowess in transition play, coupled with Haliburton’s exceptional ability to initiate attacks, promises an exciting offensive dynamic. Siakam’s ability to leak out for easy buckets aligns seamlessly with Haliburton’s playmaking skills.
2. Siakam’s Off-Ball Capabilities:
- Addressing concerns about Siakam’s potential difficulty fitting into certain teams due to ball dominance, recent trends suggest he has evolved. Siakam, during the Raptors’ 2019 championship run, demonstrated efficient scoring off assisted baskets.
- Siakam’s off-ball proficiency is highlighted by his willingness to receive passes from teammates, with his assisted baskets percentage witnessing an upward trend from the previous season.
- While Siakam’s three-point shooting percentage has faced criticism, a nuanced analysis reveals improvement post an early-season cold streak. His catch-and-shoot efficiency at 34.9%, coupled with impressive corner three-point shooting, adds valuable scoring dimensions.
3. Defensive Impact and Rebounding:
- Siakam, with his 6-foot-8 frame and a 7-foot-3 wingspan, brings versatility to the Pacers’ defense. Capable of guarding multiple positions, Siakam’s defensive skills extend from on-ball to help defense, making him a valuable asset.
- The Raptors utilized Siakam in various defensive schemes, and his intelligence in rotating, combined with effective defensive rebounding, enhances the Pacers’ ability to defend.
- Addressing the Pacers’ defensive struggles this season, Siakam’s presence offers a solution. His defensive capabilities complement Myles Turner’s rim protection, providing a more well-rounded defensive unit.
4. Playoff Flexibility:
- Siakam’s offensive versatility allows the Pacers to adapt their game plan in the playoffs. While Haliburton remains the primary playmaker, Siakam’s capability to create his own offense becomes crucial in tight situations or when a change of pace is needed.
- Siakam’s midrange proficiency, scoring 47.4% on those looks, adds a different dimension to the Pacers’ offensive repertoire. His ability to absorb defensive attention creates additional opportunities for both Siakam and Haliburton.
In summary, Pascal Siakam’s multifaceted skill set, collaborative potential with Tyrese Haliburton, and defensive prowess position him as the ideal star to elevate the Indiana Pacers’ game. This partnership promises an enhanced offensive and defensive dynamic, providing the Pacers with a valuable asset in their pursuit of success.