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Toronto Raptors' Pascal Siakam captures most improved player award

Last Updated Jun 24, 2019 at 9:57 pm EST

Toronto Raptors' Pascal Siakam takes questions from the media in Toronto on Sunday, June 16, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)

Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam has won the NBA’s most improved player award.

Siakam, who helped the Raptors win their first NBA championship this month, beat out D’Angelo Russell of the Brooklyn Nets and De’Aaron Fox of the Sacramento Kings for the honour on Monday night. He is the first Raptor to earn the honour.

“We are so proud of Pascal,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said in a news release Monday. “His story is amazing and it shows what hard work and belief in yourself can do.  This award recognizes the countless hours Pascal has spent in the gym working on his game, and the tremendous contribution he has made to our team. We are really thrilled for him.”

Siakam averaged 16.9 points per game in his third year in the NBA this past season, up from 7.3 last year.

The native of Cameroon was rewarded with a spot in the starting lineup after coming off the bench most of last year.

While the awards are given for regular-season performances, Siakam also made a big leap in the playoffs. He averaged 19 points and 7.1 rebounds in the 2019 playoffs, up from 6.6 and 3.6 last year.

Siakam, 25, was picked 27th overall out of New Mexico State in 2016.