SACRAMENTO KINGS

Pascal Siakam could add a dynamic threat to the Sacramento Kings

Jan 9, 2024, 1:43 PM | Updated: 3:20 pm

Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors shoots against the Sacramento Kings during the second half...

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 05: Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors shoots against the Sacramento Kings during the second half of an NBA basketball game at Golden 1 Center on January 05, 2024 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

NBA trade rumors, primarily centered around the Toronto Raptors, have been heating up. After trading OG Anunoby to the New York Knicks, the league’s focus seems to have shifted to Pascal Siakam, with the Sacramento Kings featured in plenty of reports.

While potential trade packages are a separate conversation, let’s dive into what the eight-year forward could provide to the Kings if he were to be acquired.

Through 36 games played this season, he’s averaging 22.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, and five assists while shooting 52.3 percent from the field and 29.7 percent from three on 3.6 attempts per game.

His shooting has been a primary question regarding his fit alongside Domantas Sabonis. Previously, De’Aaron Fox was factored into that complication, but his immense leap as a three-point shooter this season (38.7 percent on 8.4 per game) bodes tremendously well for the potential spacing with that trio.

Siakam converted 38.1 percent of his 2.5 catch-and-shoot three-point attempts per game alongside Kawhi Leonard in 2018-19, when Toronto won the Larry O’Brien. Since then, he has not reached that level but has typically remained a serviceable catch-and-shoot player.

Pascal Siakam catch-and-shoot threes by season:

  • 2018-19: 38.1 percent on 2.5 per game
  • 2019-20: 36.1 percent on 6.0/g
  • 2020-21: 29.7 percent on 4.4/g
  • 2021-22: 36.5 percent on 2.7/g
  • 2022-23: 34.1 percent on 3.0/g
  • 2023-24: 33.0 percent on 3.1/g

His streaky production from beyond the arc is covered by instinctual and intelligent cutting when off-ball defenders direct their eyes away from him. And, if he elects not to shoot, Siakam excels at taking one or two dribbles to get downhill and attack the rim.

In speaking with people who cover the Toronto Raptors day in and day out, they believe the concerns with his shooting and spacing are often overrated for those reasons.

So, while he’s a significantly worse shooter than Harrison Barnes (who is often mentioned as the primary outgoing salary in a potential deal), Pascal Siakam finds ways to make it work. In 2023-24, he’s converted 73 percent his attempts within four feet and 72 percent the year prior, per Cleaning the Glass.

For reference, Fox typically lands in the high sixties on those looks, while Sabonis flirts with the low seventies — which would make for three high-caliber finishers alongside one another.

Their transition game would be deadly. All of Siakam, Fox, Sabonis, and Monk can grab a board and go. Simultaneously, whatever shooters remain post-trade amongst Monk, Kevin Huerter, Keegan Murray, and Harrison Barnes, spacing to the corners would be exceptional.

The 6’8 forward utilizes in-and-out dribbles and his patented spin move to find finishing angles with either hand to be effective in those scenarios.

Hours before their Friday night matchup against Toronto, Sacramento Kings’ head coach Mike Brown was asked about Pascal Siakam as a player.

“He gives teams fits because he gets on the glass and gets out and runs and finishes in transition,” he said. “He can go get a bucket in an iso situation and he’s a willing passer. So, when you have those different types of combinations for a guy that has done it at a high-level, it bodes well for the Raptors.”

Transition is where the game comes easy for most NBA players, but Siakam’s dynamism in those scenarios would add another layer to Sacramento’s already threatening effectiveness in the open court.

As Brown mentioned, his capacity to finish in isolation and playmaking is also intriguing. For years, he’s been a walking mismatch. Most bigs are too slow to contain his speed, agility, and change of direction, while many guards and wings don’t have the size to bother him notably.

Many of those ideal matchups come from pick-and-rolls or dribble-handoffs. Switching can be a dangerous game for defenses, and Siakam has grown accustomed to noticing and promptly capitalizing on those advantages — which the Kings are attempting to do more often this season.

Due to that, double teams and lurking backline defenders are commonplace when Siakam has the ball in his hands. Over the past few seasons, he’s taken a significant jump as a playmaker to punish those rotations.

With how much emphasis the Kings (and most teams) place on paint touches and subsequent spray threes, his playmaking would provide tremendous value. Imagine Pascal Siakam running a pick-and-roll with Sabonis, hitting the All-Star big with a pocket pass going downhill. Or spraying out to an open Murray on the weak side.

Aside from being an elite three-point shooter, he does it all offensively. One potential question lies in the timeliness of his decision-making. Playing in the ‘point five’ has been an offensive staple for Sacramento since Brown took over last season — meaning making decisions and acting on them in point five seconds or fewer to maintain any created advantage.

There are moments when Siakam could slow his team’s offensive flow, needing a few dribbles to get into a rhythm and find his way closer to the basket. It’s far from every possession but worth noting when considering his fit.

Fox was asked about Siakam’s abilities at Thursday’s practice, with the Raptors coming into Golden 1 Center the following day.

“He’s a dynamic player,” he said. “He’s one of the guys in the league that can play all five positions — whether he’s screening or handling the ball in the pick-and-roll, spotting up, playing off the catch. He does a lot of things at 6’8, 6’9. There’s a reason that he’s been an All-NBA player. He’s helped a team win a championship. Also, on the defensive end, he’s active. He blows things up, gets his hand on the ball. So, he affects the game in many ways.”

Part of the versatility Fox mentioned and we’ve covered above is the option to play Siakam at the five. According to basketball-reference, 14 percent of Siakam’s minutes have come at the center.

Throughout the last two seasons, Trey Lyles has sporadically functioned as the backup five while Sabonis rests. If he were to be acquired, Pascal Siakam could fill that role.

Defensively, he’s regressed as a rim protector in recent years, but his length and understanding of rotations should be an improvement over Lyles from that aspect.

In his current form, Siakam shouldn’t be expected to be a lockdown defender on the perimeter, either. However, he’d still be a substantial upgrade over the presentversion of Harrison Barnes. His remaining athleticism and 7’3 wingspan would provide much-needed length to Sacramento’s defense.

As is well documented, the 30-year-old being an unrestricted free agent this offseason complicates any trade discussions. What the Kings would have (and are willing to) give up has been highly debated and speculated, but what he’d provide to the team in Califonia’s capital is undeniably worth exploring.

There’s plenty of reason to believe he could perform at an All-Star or even All-NBA level throughout most of his next deal. Placing him alongside Fox and Sabonis would create another threatening big-three in the Western Conference and make it easier to remain patient with Keegan Murray’s continued development.

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

After playing 10 of their past 13 games at home, Sacramento will embark on a five-game road trip that will take place over just seven days.

The Kings will begin the road trip on Tuesday night against a Detroit Pistons team that holds the NBA’s worst record at 3-33.

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Pistons coverage, beginning at 2:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 4:00 PM PST tip-off from Little Caesars Arena.

Upcoming Schedule

  • Tuesday, January 9th – Sacramento Kings @ Detroit Pistons – 4:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, January 10th – Sacramento Kings @ Charlotte Hornets – 4:00 PM PST
  • Friday, January 12th – Sacramento Kings @ Philadelphia 76ers – 4:30 PM PST
  • Sunday, January 14th – Sacramento Kings @ Milwaukee Bucks – 4:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, January 16th – Sacramento Kings @ Phoenix Suns – 4:00 PM PST

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