Pascal Siakam deserves his max contract

After some speculation and waiting, Pascal Siakam signed a 4 year deal for $130 million with an AAV of $32.5 million. Along with other max contracts signed this off season, the Raptors were criticized for giving Siakam the reigns of the team. I’d love to defer to Masai Ujiri’s authority on why Siakam deserves the money, but I won’t.

Siakam’s growth has been incredible, and he earned his contract solely on his performance last season. The reigning MIP averaged 16.9 points to go along with 6.9 rebounds, as well as 3.4 assists all on a brilliant .628 TS%. He elevated that in the playoffs to 19 points, and 7.1 rebounds, with his assists dipping to 2.8, as well as his efficiency dropping to .540 TS%. Important to note was the surge in his scoring to 23.8 points in the four wins against Golden State.

The Raptors certainly believe he’s capable of being a number one option at the time being, putting up great numbers at a relatively low usage rating for a star. With his growth trajectory, they’re probably right.

Even if he improves minimally, Siakam was the 2nd most important player on a championship winning team. He has a legitimate argument for best defender on the best defensive team in the league. In 20 games without Kawhi last year, Siakam put up a slashline of 19/8/3.5 with almost identical efficiency.

 

Everything I have presented to you so far only proves that he’s a very good and improving player, but what’s the market on that? Is Siakam truly worth a max contract?

The best way of finding market value is to weigh him against similar contracts.

Players by with AAV above 32 million through the 2022-2023 season, sorted by ESPN’s RPM:

James Harden (7.42), Joel Embiid (6.40), Damian Lillard (5.08), Kevin Durant (4.96), Jimmy Butler (4.71), Kyrie Irving (4.23), Karl Anthony-Towns (3.86), Pascal Siakam (3.80),  Kemba Walker (2.76), Russell Westbrook (2.51), Khris Middleton (1.89), Ben Simmons (1.74), Tobias Harris (1.68), Bradley Beal (1.51), Jamal Murray (1.18), CJ McCollum (1.14), Devin Booker (0.58), Klay Thompson (-0.33)

In last healthy seasons:

Wall – (1.17), Kristaps – (2.27) 

Using this comparison tool, Pascal Siakam fits in right in the middle of a lot of max contract worthy talent. He’s on superstar trajectory and maximum salary was the only option. His talent and growth will keep the Raptors in the hunt as a middle-tier playoff team. He earned his money. Siakam will be a staple in the East as the face of the Raptors.

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