For some reason Adebayo does well against the Raptors big men, because he had a 16 point, 15 rebound, 5 block game in last January’s thrilling 90-89 victory.
Adebayo’s size and speed seems suited to defend Toronto’s talented frontcourt duo of Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam, who has been mentioned as a most improved player candidate.
In his third season, Pascal Siakam is more star than role player and the leading candidate for Most Improved Player.
He is the guy racing from one end of the court to the other faster than any “big man” you’ve ever seen. He is the guy with the spectacular spin move. He is the guy who never gets tired despite defending every position and pushing the ball after defensive rebounds. He is all over the place.
In their first encounter this season against the Raptors only Justise Winslow didn’t allow Siakam to get off a shot on more than one possession, and caused a turnover.
Pascal Siakam versus Heat
Although Adebayo had a better overall game versus the Raptors, in his fourth NBA season Winslow’s experience on defense payed off by foiling Siakam’s youthful exuberance with veteran savvy.
At 6’10”, 230 lbs, and a 7’3” wingspan, Siakam, along with Kawhi Leonard present a formidable frontcourt tandem that challenged the smaller and/or older Heat players in their first go around versus the Canadian team.
Adebayo at 21 years old and Winslow at 22 held up fairly well slowing down the energetic Siakam last time.
The departure of Dwayne Casey and DeMar DeRozan, the injury to Jonas Valanciunas, the addition of Leonard, paired with the emergence of Siakam gives the Raptors a much different look from last season’s edition.
Sporting the NBA’s top record at 25-10, the Raptors lost to the Philadelphia 76ers, 126-101, but played without Valanciunas, Leonard, Serge Ibaka in that game.
For this game, this is what RaptorsHQ has to say about the Heat and a knock on Winslow:
“We’ll get into the details, but Toronto will have to shake off any Christmas rust early on — the Heat are always energetic — if they do, the combination of Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard shouldn’t have too many problems picking apart a star-less Heat squad.”
“Leonard will likely spend most of his time being guarded by Justise Winslow, who’s an aggressive on-ball personality, but isn’t always at full speed and has some trouble with team schemes. If the Raptors are smart, they’ll set a ton of screens for Leonard early on, let him get in a groove, and hope a similar story plays out on Boxing Day as it did in November.”