The Eastern Conference Semifinals were a struggle for Pascal Siakam.
In Toronto's seven-game series with the Boston Celtics, Siakam averaged 14.9 points on 38.2 percent shooting from the field and 12.5 percent shooting from 3-point range. He still made an impact with his defence and all-around effort, as our Carlan Gay detailed after Game 6, but he wasn't able to give the Raptors the same scoring punch he provided in the regular season.
Siakam took it hard following the team's Game 7 loss, telling the media that he takes "a lot of the blame" because he "wasn't really able to help my teammates."
Kyle Lowry sees it differently.
After the game, Lowry shared why he thinks the series will be a great learning experience for Siakam.
"When we got swept by the Wizards, I read every single article," Lowry said, per Josh Lewenberg of TSN. "I read every single thing that was said about me - good, bad, evil, terrible, awesome, and I used it as motivation. And that's what (Siakam) is going to do. That's the advice I would give him."
"I think this is a learning experience," Lowry continued. "I think it's only going to make him a better basketball player, a better man, a better everything. And I would not be surprised to see him come back even hungrier and destroying people."
At this point, nobody should count out Siakam. He's made two different leaps over the last couple of seasons, earning the Most Improved Player award for his development into the second-leading scorer on a championship team last season, followed by an All-Star selection this season for his development into the leading scorer of a Raptors team that finished with the second-best record in the league.
Based on what we know about him to this point of his career, there's good reason to believe that Siakam is going to come back even stronger next season.
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