NBA Thanksgiving 2019: What each team has to be thankful for

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Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images /
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Toronto Raptors

Pascal Siakam making the leap to stardom

The NBA’s Most Improved Player award has rapidly become a pretty good indicator of who’s about to make the leap to stardom in this league. Paul George, Goran Dragic, Jimmy Butler, CJ McCollum, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Victor Oladipo — all of the MIP winners dating back to 2012 have established themselves as certified forces in this league.

Pascal Siakam is undoubtedly ready to join this list as the most recent MIP. Last season, he posted 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game while shooting 36.9 percent from 3 on 2.7 attempts a night, but he largely played second or even third banana to Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry.

With Kawhi and Danny Green gone, Siakam has been everything the Toronto Raptors could’ve hoped for and more, posting 25.7 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists a night. He’s taken a drastic jump in 3-point attempts (6.2 per game), but is somehow even more efficient this year, canning 37.4 percent of them. Many wondered how Spicy P would respond to being “the man” in Toronto with Leonard gone. He’s not only meeting expectations, but surpassing them.