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Siakam thriving after trade to Indiana, but Raptors appear to be finding form, too - govjobcircular.com Siakam thriving after trade to Indiana, but Raptors appear to be finding form, too - govjobcircular.com

Pascal Siakam • Toronto Raptors • Indiana Pacers • Eastern Conference

Pascal Siakam • Toronto Raptors • Indiana Pacers • Eastern Conference

Pascal Siakam • Toronto Raptors • Indiana Pacers • Eastern Conference

Less than six weeks have passed since the Raptors dealt star player Pascal Siakam to the Indiana Pacers, solidifying a major makeover.

While everyone gets used to the change, Toronto has largely struggled without its previous top scorer, but they have won two straight heading into Monday's away game at Indianapolis.

In the meantime, Indiana had only won 8-8 when Siakam was starting before defeating Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks 133-111 at home on Sunday.

Siakam was supposed to be the missing component that would have propelled the Pacers to the top of the Eastern Conference, 

so the 9-8 record may seem disappointing, but bear in mind that Tyrese Haliburton, the NBA's leading assist scorer, was limited in minutes and not fully recovered for the first four games after his return from injury, missing five of the games.

When Siakam and Haliburton are playing well together, the Pacers are only beginning to realize how effective they can be on offense.

Before the all-star break, Siakam's much-awaited return to his old NBA home began with a victory over Toronto. In that game, Siakam recorded 23 points and seven assists, and Haliburton appeared to be in his element at last. Then, in a post-break laugher, the hometown hero in Indianapolis, Haliburton, almost won MVP of the All-Star Game, and the two dominated Detroit.

Myles Turner, the center, scored 33 points, while Haliburton recorded a double-double. Siakam, on the other hand, was quiet on Sunday, scoring just 12 points, his lowest total as a Pacer. This season, Haliburton has at least 12 assists in seven games without committing a turnover; the majority of those games were played without Siakam. It will be intriguing to observe their potential collaborations.

Siakam has played a total of 16 games for the Pacers and had been excellent throughout. He is converting fewer turnovers, getting greater rebounds, and projecting a more aggressive defensive presence. He fired a scorching 44% from three (including an unsustainable 61.5% from the field), significantly better than his 31.7% shooting this season as a Raptor. That excludes his 0–2 three-point performance on Sunday.

Siakam appears free and has thrived. He is no longer concerned about his next contract—he will be paid in full by the Pacers on a new, long-term deal—or having to deal with constant trade rumors. For the first time in nine games since February 1st, he shot less than 47% on Sunday, and Indiana has won four of the last five.

Given his recent injury and the fact that the game ends a back-to-back, it's probable that the Pacers may rest Haliburton on Monday, making Siakam the obvious focal focus.

Bruce Brown, Kelly Olynyk, and Ochai Agbaji, three guys the Raptors acquired as part of the Siakam deal spoils, are beginning to play exceptionally well and form a significant portion of a suddenly dangerous bench.

 The primary trade partner of Olynyk and Agbaji, Brown was the player that moved north with Jordan Nwora, who hasn't yet made an impact, and one of the draft picks the Pacers gave to Toronto (perhaps the worst of the three).

Since the trade, especially in the last few days, Brown, Olynyk, Agbaji, rookie Gradey Dick, and either Scottie Barnes or Immanuel Quickley have come together wonderfully.

In addition, Toronto will receive a first-round pick from Indiana in 2026 as well as one this summer. If the Pacers stick around.500 with Siakam, this year's Indiana selection should finish between 13th and 23rd (if they have a big run).