Welcome to the Friday edition of The Cooler, where it’s officially air conditioner season. Let’s get to it:
*It’s dangerous on a lot of levels to make comparisons between athletes at far different stages of their careers simply because of physical appearance. So I’m going to tread very lightly into this area with the knowledge that an established 25-year-old NBA player and an 18-year-old prospect are, obviously, two very different people.
That said, things that work tend to get copied. The NBA’s Raptors are evidence of that on a lot of levels — and one of them was on display front and center in Thursday’s Game 1 finals victory over Golden State.
Pascal Siakam, the No. 27 overall pick in the 2016 draft, scored 32 points on an otherworldly 14 of 17 from the field for the Raptors.
He is a great example of incremental progress and the high upside that can come from drafting a late bloomer. The Cameroon native played at New Mexico State and has ascended from valuable role player (and G League Finals MVP in 2017) to a key scorer who could dethrone the Warriors.
And he’s also being championed as a good-scenario comp for Sekou Doumbouya, the 18-year-old international player from France who could be a lottery pick in a few weeks.
It helps that both players are listed at 6-9, 230 pounds and that both can run the floor and defend. They are seven years apart in age, and Siakam was 22 when he was drafted — four years older than Doumbouya is now — so talking about them as prospects is a little bit of apples to oranges.
But he’s intriguing — particularly because a lot of mock drafts have him going sometime late in the lottery, right around the time the Wolves will pick at No. 11. This highlight reel has some impressive moments:
If he is available, you could make a compelling argument that the Wolves should take him — even if it meant developing in the G League for a chunk of his rookie scale contract.
At the very least, it would be fun to see what new President Gersson Rosas would do if Doumbouya is there at No. 11 because it would give at glimpse into his roster-building strategy.
*Packers coach Matt LaFleur reportedly tore his Achilles playing basketball at Lambeau Field. The report made no mention of any involvement from Anthony Barr.
*This is … encouraging.