Former Raptor CJ Miles outlines the key to Pascal Siakam's turnaround season

From the moment CJ Miles saw Pascal Siakam play, he knew he had a chance to be an elite talent in the NBA. The former Raptor discusses what he thinks was the key to the 27-year-old having a rebound season. Full discussion is available on our Yahoo Sports Canada YouTube channel.

Video Transcript

AMIT MANN: Wow, in a [INAUDIBLE] with CJ Miles. See, the things you learn. That's crazy. What about Pascal?

CJ MILES: Pascal was just like-- wait a minute, P Skills.

AMIT MANN: Sorry. Yes, P Skills.

CJ MILES: So that was it. You know what I mean? We used to always joke. Like, he'd make a play, and we'd scream from the bench, he's got too many skills, because he just had the potential to be anything. You know what I mean?

You see a guy who can run, jump, doesn't get tired, handle getting better, great instincts. He defends. He competes. He passes. He's literally got the potential to be anything. And like I said, he was that when I got there.

We just encouraged him to be more open to those situations. We encouraged him to shoot open 3's. We encouraged him to put the ball on the floor, then the coast-to-coast stuff started happening. The spin move was always there.

AMIT MANN: Always.

CJ MILES: It was literally just work. It was reps and confidence, and they go hand in hand. But that was all it ever was.

AMIT MANN: He took a real jump this year. I say that in the sense that I think people were a little bit too down on his past couple of years because I don't think they're really that bad. But the jump he made this year, as we talk about the mid-range was-- I found the mid-range-- is that he was able to hit-- he had a lot more dribbling combinations that he would be able to implement into mid-range shots. Fair?

CJ MILES: Yeah, but I also think they just like to talk about the "down years" with the air quotations.


CJ MILES: When you're looking at it from the outside, people just-- they're only gauging from the near history, not looking at it as a whole. Or they're just looking at, the last game I watched, he was 1 for 12. You know what I mean?

Everybody is like-- the fan ride is as crazy as anything. You know what I mean because they're emotionally charged by every moment. And the player has to look at it so differently.


CJ MILES: And that's where the disconnect is I think when they hear-- sometimes they hear guys talk about, he's going to be all right, because he is. Because he's thinking about the fact that I'm going to play 100 games this year.

AMIT MANN: Exactly.

CJ MILES: The fan, no offense, they're thinking about last night, and FanDuel--


--or the bet they made with their friend, whatever it is. You know what I mean? That's part of the game too. I'm not knocking anything. That's part of it, but I'm just saying that's the difference in there. And sometimes people just-- and then, the season ends. They was like, well, he's still averaged 20-something and-- you know what I mean?

AMIT MANN: Exactly.

CJ MILES: And people don't realize it.

- Siakam, 38 and 14. Slice and dice on display, 40 large!

AMIT MANN: But I also found that he was making small strides within his game. And when you are already this good, there's not going to be like this massive jump all the time. It's going to be like small, incremental progress.

CJ MILES: Yeah, I also think that's the price you pay for becoming the man also.

AMIT MANN: Mm-kay.

CJ MILES: And that just goes with it. If the team's not playing well, the first thing I'm going to think about is the best player on that team.


CJ MILES: That's everybody. That's the first thing you're going to look at. Like, what is he doing to-- and sometimes it isn't always scoring. You see guys who have been these prolific scorers for so long, and they can't really figure out that next step. And then, all of a sudden, the year they average eight assists instead of three, everything changes--


CJ MILES: --because it's literally just those three or four extra passes that changes the way the game is played. And a fan is not looking at it that-- on that small of a scope. They just know, we're winning now. He must be playing well. You know what I mean? It's not looked at as he just literally made a dump-off pass for one of the young bigs to get a dunk, and now that guy plays better the whole game.

AMIT MANN: Exactly.

CJ MILES: It's not looked at that small. And it's hard to when you just watching the games for pure entertainment. You're not breaking it all the way down like that all the time.

AMIT MANN: What did you-- what stood out to you about his this past season from him?

CJ MILES: He was less up and down about him not playing well than he was the year before. And I know there was a lot of things going on that-- he had some things that weren't so just basketball going on. Obviously, it effects your emotion and how you feel. But I noticed that, like, if he did struggle a little bit or when I was at the game in San Antonio watching him miss a pass, or miss a play, miss a shot, it wasn't this whole-- it wasn't-- it didn't weigh on him.


CJ MILES: And I think the year before, I think I could see it on him some nights. He was just having-- he was fighting with himself, you know, because he was like, all right, I got to-- he'd just try to claw his way out. And he's hitting himself across the head because he's not doing it in one play.

And I didn't see that this year. He just believed in his work, and he talked about that. And he does work. That's one thing he does. And it's just, all right, I was 3 for whatever tonight, but the next day, I'm coming back. I'm going to figure out the little things I didn't do.

It's going to get me going. And I'm going to be the All-Star again. I'm going to be the All-Star that night. It's nice like that.

AMIT MANN: I feel like next season is going to be his best one yet. That's my feeling with him. I think he's really found something. And as you said, being able to silence the noise as a star player, being able to block that out, very important to success. And he's harnessed that a little bit, so I think he's going to be just, just fine. Last one for you. Yeah, go ahead.

CJ MILES: I was about to say, I think guys that care the level that he cares, that takes a transition because he's a guy who everybody loves. And he wants everybody to love him, as everybody does. You know what I mean? And he goes out of his way to be a good-- he's like a very good-hearted person, not that a lot of guys aren't. I'm just saying I know this personally about him.

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