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Rick Zamperin: NBA All-Star Pascal Siakam has only scratched the surface of his potential

Raptors’ Siakam named starter in his first NBA All-Star Game
WATCH: Toronto Raptor Pascal Siakam has been named a starter in his first-ever NBA All-Star Game. As Mike Drolet explains, in just four years, Siakam went from a NBA nobody to an NBA all-star.

The meteoric rise of Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam reached new stratospheric heights Thursday, after he was named a starter in his first NBA All-Star Game.

The announcement wasn’t a surprise given the career year the 25-year-old is having, but considering where ‘Spicy P’ has come from, you can’t help but smile in amazement.

Entering Friday night’s game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Siakam led Toronto with 23.5 points per game (15th overall in the NBA) and is second with 7.7 rebounds per game and tied for third with 3.5 assists.

READ MORE: Toronto Raptors’ Pascal Siakam named 2020 NBA all-star game starter

The 27th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft wasn’t supposed to turn into an all-star, let alone a starter in the league’s mid-season showcase, after he started playing basketball in Africa when he was 15.

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The native of Cameroon averaged just 4.2 points per game while playing 55 contests in his rookie season, then inched his offensive output upwards, albeit marginally, in his sophomore season to an average of 7.3 points during his 81 games in 2017.

Siakam broke out last season alongside teammate Kawhi Leonard when he averaged 16.9 points and 6.9 rebounds a game and was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player after helping the Raptors win their first championship.

Any thoughts that Siakam would take a step back in 2019-20 after Leonard left Toronto for the Los Angeles Clippers last offseason have quickly disintegrated.

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Siakam has become the Raptors’ most explosive and most reliable player at both ends of the court, so it’s no surprise that he collected the third most all-star fan votes among Eastern Conference players.

As Siakam enters his prime basketball playing years, there is no telling how high his trajectory is going to take him — and the Raptors.

Pascal Siakam says being named Most Improved Player means ‘everything’
Pascal Siakam says being named Most Improved Player means ‘everything’