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’43’ is Number One

The 2022 Toronto Raptors training camp is officially underway. For the second time in the franchise’s history, camp is taking place at the University of Victoria in British Columbia.

In the six days of camp, the team has to make some tough decisions: dwindle down a roster of 20 to just 15 players who will participate in the regular season. Just like every season, the final roster sparks debate on the ‘it’ player of the year.

So who will it be?

The obvious answer is Pascal Siakam.

Although fan favourite Fred VanVleet and rookie Scottie Barnes played well throughout the season, Siakam came out on top, making him the best Raptor on the current roster.

Statistics don’t lie.

Not only was Siakam named the NBA’s Most Improved Player last season, but his game play is also unmatched by his teammates.

According to the NBA, Siakam averaged 22.8 points per game. This is more than Fred VanVleet’s 20.3 and towers over Barnes’ 15.3.

But we all know a basketball game cannot just be won with baskets.

Siakam also averaged 8.5 rebounds per game, which thanks to his soaring six foot eight height, is no problem for him. Once again, this is more than both VanVleet and Barnes’ 4.4 and 7.5 rebounds.

After starting his competitive career less than a decade ago and going from a project to an All-Star, Siakam has made a name for himself.

The nickname ‘Spicy P’ came from Siakam’s impressive individual skills, but Siakam is an overall great player and teammate as well. Not only did Spicy P average over five assists per game, but his Player Impact Estimate was approximately 13.9. This is the second-highest PIE on the current Raptors’ roster.

Although statistics are important in the world of basketball, Siakam also proves to be more than just a good player. He’s also a good person.

In April 2021, Siakam launched the PS43 Foundation, a not-for-profit intended to empower children by providing mentorship opportunities and financial literacy. Spicy P says in the mission statement that he hopes to inspire as many children as possible and give them a boost in society despite their upbringing and hardships they might face.

As a professional athlete, being in the spotlight can be tough and often brings up some shady backgrounds or story lines. But not for Siakam. He tends to fly under the radar and remains drama free, during both regular and off season. Spicy P is only seen in headlines after a big win.

Based on his statistics alone, Spicy P carries his team and spends his time and energy when he’s not on the court, helping the community. He is truly a golden star in the NBA world.

Siakam is easily the best player the Raptors have seen since Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry, and even then, his statistics put him close to the top of the leader board.

So, if you’re in the market and looking to invest in a Raptors jersey for the upcoming 2022-2023 season, keep your eye out for lucky number ‘43’ stitched on the back.