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Pascal Siakam said to DeMar DeRozan, “I want to go work out with you for the midrange during the summer.”

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Pascal Siakam

The Toronto Raptors’ Pascal Siakam talks about the impending play-in game against the Bulls, how Chicago has previously defended him, and DeMar DeRozan’s ability to make mid-range shots.

Script for the video

Pascal, how crucial is a strong performance from your team tomorrow night to sort of keep this season going and finish it on a high note? How are you doing?


That’s right, very crucial. I believe that, despite the ups and downs of the season, there is still a tremendous chance to play some basketball and go to the postseason. I believe the greatest approach is to go out and play basketball while maintaining a positive outlook.

The whistle doesn’t blow as frequently, the hits are a little bit harsher, and Nick was sitting here earlier talking about how the game has changed somewhat. How do you adjust to going from one regular-season game to one that, most likely tomorrow, will be called differently?

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Right, PASCAL SIAKAM. I feel like I’m kind of accustomed to it, at least in my case, I guess. I never truly know what it’s like, for example. In order to finish strong through hits, I kind of simply train myself to go out there and not anticipate anything.

And we are aware that the game would be physically demanding. Additionally, as you mentioned, the whistle can be a little different. However, I don’t really believe it to be anything new.

With you, Scottie, and OG, you certainly appear to have a size advantage against those players who are attempting to go to the hoop and the rim. Are you thinking that way, going [INAUDIBLE]?

PASCAL SIAKAM: I believe it has always been in our favour to just take advantage of our favourable matches. And we always turn to that if we think we have an edge. And in my opinion, it just relies on who is there on the floor for both them and us. We’ll constantly attempt to find methods to profit from discrepancies and similar situations, so absolutely.

  • In terms of preparation, does it feel more like Game 83, Game 7, or Game 1 of the playoffs?

PASCAL SIAKAM: We need to win yet another critical game. That is the thinking, then.

In those first few years of being a bench mob member, you had practised against DeMar a lot. How much did he aid you in the early phases of player development, given how talented he is offensively?

PASCAL SIAKAM: To be honest, I believe I’ve always enjoyed watching him. Just his work, please. Additionally, he is able to control the defence by using his on-court skills to get to his positions, shoot from mid-range, and more. And such things have always been beneficial. He has also always provided a rigorous coverage. And through him, I undeniably learnt a lot.

Do you now see any parallels between yourself and DeMar as your mid-range game has developed?

PASCAL SIAKAM: I don’t know, I guess. I honestly can’t tell you. But I’m aware that when I watch him, everything appears so simple to me because he does it with such ease. And I kind of always said, “Yeah, I want to go work out with you in the summer, just for your mid-range and stuff,” when he asked. But what he is capable of is incredible.

He is one of those men if you’re a player out there and want to look at someone who has mastered something. Therefore, we carefully consider it and make every effort to imitate it. But he’s unique, so…

How do you think your team will do against Chicago’s size without Jak on the court and with the second unit?


I’m not sure. Yes, I’m not sure. I believe that, as I already stated, we just have various lineups. I sometimes have no idea who will be in the lineup. And whether Jakob is involved or not, I believe we should continue to play the way we do.

What are one or two things Jakob has done to make your life simpler since you’ve been playing with him since the All-Star Break, to the point where you sort of love having him play with you?

PASCAL SIAKAM: I believe it is apparent that his screening is excellent and serves to pique your interest. That, in my opinion, is a positive. Then, with him just being present and providing the necessary passes, cutbacks, and other plays, I believe I scored the majority of my goals without possession of the ball.

I feel like it simply provided me a little bit more—an additional variety—on how to grade. For instance, you may just give the ball to him and make a read rather than always having possession of it. He succeeds in making that pass. In that case, if I had to choose two.

  • So I take it you’re no longer the second [INAUDIBLE]?

PASCAL SIAKAM: That’s correct, and it’s a great benefit. Like, yes, I really like it.


Chicago has given you a variety of appearances. But they frequently began with something like Caruso on you. What about him as a defender do you find difficult? And what do you discover to be the secrets to your victory against him?

PASCAL SIAKAM: I believe he is a capable defender. And I believe that he is powerful, particularly when it comes to men who are smaller than myself. He can, sort of, hold his own. Yes, it will always be difficult. However, I do feel as though where the aid is coming from and other such things are [INAUDIBLE].

But yes, I believe he is—I believe they have a number of individuals that I can watch over. And they’ve carried out a wide range of activities. So, it need to be engaging and enjoyable.

Patrick Beverley employs a variety of strategies to try to deter opponents. You two have engaged in back and forth previously.

SIAKAM, PASCAL: Oh, we do?

Yeah. [LAUGHS]

How can you sort of accept that without being disoriented?

PASCAL SIAKAM: No, I don’t think so; I think that’s simply his game. More importantly, I enjoy it. I don’t mind it, really. I simply believe that is what he does. And he never loses that vigour.

And as you may know, he enjoys competing against those players that give their all, are driven to win at any costs, and occasionally could care less about the offence or other factors. They only want to contribute in whatever way possible to the team’s success.

I also think it’s fantastic. I think he’s a decent man, for example. I don’t know, like. Yes, our games are always enjoyable.


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