NBA Rookies: Koloko adds strength in Pascal Siakam’s absence – NBA Draft Digest

On Saturday, Toronto Raptors fans received some bad news: star Pascal Siakam suffered another groin injury and would be out for at least two weeks. But on Sunday, rookie Christian Koloko did enough to hopefully calm some nerves.

With guard Fred VanVleet back in the lineup, Koloko, who has been the No. 5 starter for the past few games, has officially taken Siakam’s place. Not schematically, but it filled like most 7-footer doLs providing a rim shot blocker that can often pack the paint and provide strong presence.

And he did.

Koloko played solid in the Raptors’ 113-104 win over the Chicago Bulls, which certainly wasn’t a breeze at the start of the roster.

In 31 minutes, Koloko finished with 11 points on 4-for-8 shooting, a respectable game for any rookie, let alone a game without the gravitational Siakam. The former Arizona Wildcat went 3-for-4 from the free throw line but missed his only 3-point attempt.

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Along with his opportunistic scoring, Koloko finished with an astonishing six blocks, pulling out seven rebounds and delivering two assists in the process. Two of his boards were offensive.

Perhaps most impressively, Koloko was able to finish the game on the court with the starting unit, which is no small feat for a rookie just a few games into his NBA career.

Sure, the production was a far cry from Siakam, who for all intents and purposes looked like a true MVP through eight games, but Koloko’s performance was hopefully enough to soothe some nerves.

For now, Koloko will be looking to build on his best performance to date, taking on the Bulls again on Monday at 7:45 a.m.


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