In what is the first domino to fall in what is sure to be an active NBA Trade Deadline, the Toronto Raptors traded star forward Pascal Siakam to the Indiana Pacers for Bruce Brown, Jordan Nwora and three first-round picks. The Pascal Siakam trade is sure to benefit both teams, as it now looks like Indiana is going to make a run at the NBA Championship, while Toronto looks like it is going to head into a rebuild with Scottie Barnes running the show.

As Indiana has acquired Siakam, it seems like the Pacers have added a much-needed piece to take on the Bucks, Celtics and Heat in the East. However, will it be enough?

Pascal Siakam Trade Should Improve Indiana’s Defense

While the Indiana Pacers have had one of the best offenses in the NBA this season, the same can’t be said about their defense. Indiana currently has a defensive rating of 119.5, which ranks 26th in the NBA. As Indiana has shown, they can score with anyone in the NBA based on their performance in the In-Season Tournament. The defense on the other hand is not doing them any favors. They have given up 155 to the Celtics, 137 to the 76ers, 142 to the Heat, 140 to the Bucks, 151 to the Clippers and 137 to the Wizards. Luckily for the Pacers, the Pascal Siakam trade is just what they need to hold teams in the future.

As he has shown in the past, Siakam is more than capable of going toe to toe with the best players in the NBA. In 2019, Siakam was at the forefront of the Raptors team who famously implemented the wall defense against Giannis Antetokounmpo. Having that ability, with the offense of the Pacers, should turn games that were shootouts into less competitive games. If Indiana is in serious contention to win the East, shutting down players like Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and Jimmy Butler is going to be the key and Siakam can certainly help with that.

Not Just Defense, but Offense Should Improve

The major change for the Indiana Pacers here is that Bruce Brown swapped with Siakam in the starting lineup. That alone should provide for a strong consistency in the offense. While a part of Indiana’s team revolved around Brown’s hustle and energy, Siakam should help to make up for that with his talent alone. Siakam is a two-time All-Star who at his best season has averaged 24.2 points per game in 2021-22. Those numbers have since diminished this season to 22.2, which is due in part to the emergence of Scottie Barnes. Siakam’s shooting percentage has increased though, from 48% to 52.2% this season. With Indiana’s fast-paced offense, Siakam’s high shooting percentage should work seamlessly into the offense.

What Indiana is missing this season is a strong inside presence. Myles Turner has proved to be not that great and loves stepping out to shoot the three-ball. With Siakam, Turner can continue to hunt his shot around the arc. While Siakam has only shot 31.7% from the three-point line this season, his three-point shooting is not what is going to carry the Pacers in this trade. Indiana already shoots 37.7% from the three-point line, which ranks ninth in the NBA.

Adding to his scoring ability, Siakam gives the Pacers another playmaking option to help spell the pressure off of Tyrese Haliburton. Averaging just under five assists a game this season, Siakam’s playmaking ability should work in getting players like Buddy Hield, Ben Mathurin and Aaron Nesmith more shots.

How Far Can the Indiana Pacers Go?

In reality, the Pascal Siakam trade looks like it is a great trade for the present. With Haliburton’s injury, Siakam can now slide into a playmaking role. His passing ability and proven talent to run an offense should help to hold the ship together with Haliburton out. While I don’t love that Indiana traded five pieces, including three first-round picks, it puts them into win-now mode.

Is the addition of Siakam enough to keep up with the Bucks and Celtics? I personally don’t think so.

I don’t necessarily think that Siakam has the leadership ability to take over a team that is as young as Indiana. It certainly puts them in the running to win one, maybe two, playoff series, but how can you rely on a team that hasn’t been there to compete against the two best teams in the NBA? The major flaw in Indiana’s game, as stated before, has been their defense, which Siakam can undoubtedly help solve. I just don’t know that he is a good enough player to take Indiana to the next level. If they were to make another trade for an added defender, I think Indiana is then in a position to make a deep run in the playoffs.

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From Green Bay, Wisconsin. NBA, College Basketball, MLB and NFL Fan/Writer. UW-La Crosse Graduate. Watch Sports, Play Basketball and Travel in Free Time. Love to go Fishing. Go Tar Heels.

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