Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam is enjoying the best statistical season of his seven-year NBA career, but his impressive individual output isn't translating to enough wins for his team.
The Raptors outplayed expectations in 2021-22, ultimately finishing as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, but they've taken a step backward this season and find themselves at 16-21. That record has them fighting for a spot in the play-in tournament.
Toronto is 3-7 over its past 10 games, and the run of defeats is starting to take a toll on players, including Siakam, an NBA champion who has only experienced one losing season over his career — the infamous "Tampa Tank" campaign in 2020-21 in which the Raptors played home games in Florida.
"It's easier said than done to be positive when you're losing, especially if you care about the game the way I do," Siakam told reporters on Tuesday, per TSN's Josh Lewenberg. "I want to win and I want a reward from (the work). When you don't get it it's hard to be positive but that's what we have to do. We have to stay together."
With the Raptors struggling to find consistency, trade rumours have already started to swirl ahead of the Feb. 9 deadline. Several Raptors players, including Siakam, have found their names surfacing in reports and Toronto's front office is nearing decision time in regards to this core.
Reigning Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes isn't going anywhere, but Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. can opt out of their contracts after this season, while Siakam hits free agency after 2023-24. O.G. Anunoby can join Siakam on the market if he opts out of his deal after next year.
Things aren't going to get much easier for the Raptors anytime soon, as 11 of their next 15 games come against teams currently above .500. They begin a six-game homestand Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks that could dictate their direction for the remainder of the season.
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