What makes this story even more fascinating is the fact that the Cameroon-born Siakam only started playing basketball at the age of 16 -- just eight years prior. Siakam spoke of making his dream a reality while accepting the Most Improved Player of the Year award.
The 25-year-old had a breakout season, averaging 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game, while helping lead the Raptors to their first NBA championship. He managed to up his game during the Raptors' postseason run, clearly establishing himself as Toronto's second-best player after Kawhi Leonard. The young forward averaged 19.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game during the playoffs.
While voting for these awards took place following the conclusion of the regular season, it was pretty clear that Siakam's role in helping the Raptors post the second-best record in the NBA definitely helped him edge out the Brooklyn Nets' Russell and the Kings' Fox.