Toronto Raptors star Pascal Siakam was benched prior to Thursday’s game against the New York Knicks, for disciplinary reasons, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Normal Powell will start in Siakam’s absence.
Siakam left the floor and headed straight to the locker room upon fouling out against the Philadelphia 76ers, as the Raptors fell 100-93, dropping to 0-3 on the season.
The All-Star forward is active for Thursday’s game, but is expected to watch the game from the bench in street clothes, according to Blake Murphy of The Athletic.
Siakam put together the best season of his career prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, earning the first All-Star selection of his career, to go along with All-NBA second team honours.
When the NBA resumed inside its Orlando bubble, Siakam’s form noticeably dropped off, becoming hesitant as he attacked the basket, while defenses caught on and anticipated his trademark spin move. Siakam’s counting numbers plummeted during the playoffs, averaging 17 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, shooting 39.6 percent from the field and a woeful 18.9 percent from three, as the Raptors were eliminated by the Boston Celtics in a hard-fought seven-game series.
Perhaps this will serve as a good-natured wake-up call from head coach Nick Nurse, as Siakam is being counted upon to perform as one of the faces of the franchise, having signed a four-year, $130-million extension prior to the 2019-20 season.
Nurse did not tell reporters that he was planning to bench Siakam prior to Thursday’s game.
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