The idea that the best players on the team should be involved or consulted in any major deal is nice and is being raised all the time. Just don’t try it with Pascal Siakam.
With the Raptors making their first major move of the off-season – they should be 33rd in Thursday’s NBA draft – Siakam is happy to sit down and watch the bosses do what they want.
He’s not going to trumpet any particular player, he’s not going to speak to suggest that hole or what should be prioritized. Is he watching what Thursday brings and going on?
“I’m not doing Bobby’s (Webster’s) job, I’m doing my job,” Siakam joked to 12-year-old girls at Regent Park on Tuesday of 150 laptops that are part of his PS43, joking. The Foundation’s efforts to close the gender gap in technology. He joined the three-year-old Coding For Champions program with Toronto Center MP Marci Ieni and Penny Appeal Canada.
Siakam, who is only six years away from the stress of the draft week, knows what the potential choices go through.
“It’s a special moment,” he said. “Just thinking about not knowing where you’re going at the moment is the scariest thing to do.” You are not guaranteed to get anywhere.
On Tuesday, it was a special moment for Siakam as well, posing with young girls who would not have had the opportunity to work on their computer. Now that they are doing this, it should allow the cohort, which is often overlooked, to focus on the future of technology.
“Knowing what the gap is, because women aren’t so much involved in technology or this type of work, we want that to change,” Siakam said. “We have the same skills, at the end of the day they can do the same things we do, and I want to make sure we repeat that.”
The Raptors have done their job on the field before the draft on Thursday – they have had sessions in groups of about 72 players – and are now finalizing their leaderboard. And as much as basic basketball skills play a role in taking them, off-field evaluation is just as important.
They have different groups of office and basketball workers who interact with potential people during dinner and before training to get an idea of how teenagers or players in their early 20s interact with people and potential employers. Character matters.
“You want to paint a full picture of a child,” Webster said. “You take them from the first realistic point (if they appear as legitimate prospects) and resign.
“We talk to people in their high school, we talk to coaches, we talk to the players they played against, so you probably want to do it for 10-12, you can’t do it for everyone 60.”
“You dig as deep as you can.”
Relative obsession with the draft exists because of the variables associated with each choice. Webster said research shows that three out of ten players in “our choice” get in and maybe 20 out of 60 out there will play any important role.
“I think this is one area where the potential is limitless,” he said. “You’ve usually seen a player in a free agency, so you have an idea who he is. There’s usually a lot of work involved.
“I think the draft is so big unknown. I think that’s why the teams spend so much time. If you get a really good player in the second round to become the stars, the value there is basically immeasurable.
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