INDIANAPOLIS-- On Thursday night, the third edition of the publicized NBA All-Star draft took place on TNT. Lakers superstar LeBron James and Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, the two All-Star captains, each drafted their teams from the pool of 22 other All-Stars. After the selections, Antetokounmpo has received backlash for the players he chose in comparison to James.
With his 2nd draft pick, he took Raptors superstar Pascal Siakam, who is starting in the All-Star game for the first time.
"I think it was cool. I watched a little bit of it," Siakam said of the All-Star draft after the Raptors win against the Pacers.
Siakam is leading the Raptors (38-14), who have won thirteen games in a row, scoring at 23.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game and is coming off of a season in which he won an NBA championship and The Most Improved Player award. His growth as a superstar in the NBA has been unprecedented from where he began his career as a relatively unknown 27th overall pick who averaged 4.2 points per game in 2016.
After losing Kawhi Leonard in free agency, who led them to the NBA Championship last season, the Raptors have not missed a beat. Nearly every player on their roster has suffered injuries, but the excellent play of Siakam and the rest of the team has them sitting at the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference and the longest winning streak in franchise history.
"It just shows the type of people that we have on the team," he said. "We play together as a team. No matter what happens, we stick together."
On Friday night, their resiliency as a group was on full display once again, beating the Pacers for the second time in two days. Fellow All-Star and teammate Kyle Lowry went down with a shoulder injury in the third quarter and did not return. Yet, Siakam and the Raptors closed out a tough Pacers team that is 18-8 on their home floor and won by nine points.
As for the All-Star game, Siakam is one of the few players in the NBA from Africa playing in the league's holiday weekend.
"It'll be a fun weekend for sure, be on that team, Africans in there representing," he said.
In terms of the criticism that Antetokounmpo has received for his poor General Manager skills, Siakam seems to be keeping the same attitude he has with the Raptors about his All-Star teammates.
"I think we have a pretty good team," he said. "Will see how it goes."
The All-Star game between Team Lebron and Team Giannis takes place on Sunday, February 16th, in Chicago.