NBA: Revisiting the 2019 rookie-scale max extensions

Philadelphia 76ers Ben Simmons defends (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
Philadelphia 76ers Ben Simmons defends (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
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NBA Toronto Raptors Pascal Siakam (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

NBA rookie-max extension: Pascal Siakam

The reigning NBA champions lost their best player in Kawhi Leonard, as well as starting guard Danny Green. With these departures, President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujuri deemed last season’s Most Improved Player a worthy suitor as the No. 1 option on a team that wanted to remain competitive in the East.

This decision has seemingly paid off as Siakam has excelled in his role, leading the Toronto Raptors to the 2-seed at the time of season suspension.

Siakam’s jumped from averaging 16.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists last season to a much more productive 23.6 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game this year. In addition to this, Siakam’s usage jumped from 20.8 percent to 28.5 percent. As a result, however, his efficiency dipped from an elite True Shooting percentage of 62.8 percent to an only slightly above average mark this season of 55.9 percent.

Siakam’s defense has remained elite, allowing Nick Nurse plenty of flexibility on that end, able to guard three positions quite well, which is especially deadly when flanked by OG Anunoby and one of Marc Gasol or Serge Ibaka.

Siakam has blossomed into one of the better two-way players in the game today and has silenced any doubt of his ability to handle the load of a first option. It seems like a fair assessment to say that Pascal has more than earned his max deal, which could be bumped to 30 percent of the cap if he makes All-NBA this year, which he has a legitimate argument for.