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Raptors coach Nick Nurse wants Pascal Siakam to be 'The Man'

With Kawhi Leonard out of the picture, the Toronto Raptors are looking for a new go-to player on the offensive end.

Head coach Nick Nurse believes budding star Pascal Siakam is up to that challenge.

“I just think his next step in progression is being ‘The Man,’” Nurse said in an exclusive interview with William Lou of Yahoo Sports. “Instead of being a complementary guy next to ‘The Man’ he’s gotta be ‘The Man’ — the primary scorer and the primary option and the late-game scorer. There’s lots of little steps left to climb yet for him and I think the sky’s the limit.”

Siakam has elevated his game in each of his three NBA seasons, raising his scoring average from 4.2 points per game as a rookie to 7.3 as a sophomore all the way to 16.9 in 2018-19. His strides during the Raptors’ championship campaign earned him the league’s Most Improved Player award.

The 25-year-old is known for his versatility on both ends of the floor, with his length and quickness allowing him to occasionally play small forward, while also logging time at centre in small-ball sets. Nurse envisions using the lineup creativity that Siakam provides to his advantage, and allowing the native of Cameroon to initiate the offence more frequently.

“He really can play anywhere,” Nurse said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we almost make him like a point forward, where he’ll handle the ball a lot up the floor.”

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Siakam has risen to every challenge he’s encountered to this point in his career, and the Raptors need him to continue doing so if they want to remain contenders in the Eastern Conference.

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