Raptors’ Fred VanVleet Making Strong Case To Be A First-Time All-Star

Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors, NBA News
NBA Analysis Network

It seems like forever ago that Kawhi Leonard led the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA title in franchise history, but that was only about two seasons ago in 2019. The Raptors have long been playoff threats in the Eastern Conference, but they hit a rough patch a season ago when they went 27-45, missing the playoffs for the first-time since the 2012-13 season. 

With Kyle Lowry’s departure in the offseason and Pascal Siakam’s offseason shoulder surgery, things did not look good for the Raptors at the start of the season, but they have been one of the hottest teams as of late with their team finally starting to get fully-healthy. 

Toronto has won 5 of their last 7 games and after starting the season 8-10, they are now 20-17 and right in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

With Scottie Barnes, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam and others missing time here and there, it is definitely not a surprise to see the Toronto Raptors be inconsistent during the first-half of the season, but one guy who has been fantastic for them to this point has been Fred VanVleet. 

LATEST NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: 3 Front-Court Players For Raptors To Target Via Trade

Now in his 6th NBA season, VanVleet really broke onto the scene in Toronto during their 2018-19 championship season and since Kawhi Leonard’s departure, the combo-guard has turned himself into one of the best two-way guards in the entire league. 

Coming out of Wichita State as an undrafted guard in 2016, Fred VanVleet has had to fight hard for his spot in this league and plays with a chip on his shoulder every single night. Playing in 34 of the Raptors’ 37 games to this point, VanVleet has been having a career-year, averaging career-highs in points (22.0), rebounds (5.0), assists (6.7), minutes (37.5), field goal percentage (44.2%) and three-point shooting percentage (40.9%). 

Not to mention, his 37.5 minutes per game this season leads the league, just proving how durable Fred VanVleet is. With Kyle Lowry now in Miami, VanVleet has stepped up to be the leader of this team and while he is just 6’1”, he plays harder than everyone else on the floor. 

He is always the first one on the ground for a loose ball, he guards guys two-times his size and he is the “do-it-all” guy for this Toronto Raptors franchise. Fred VanVleet can score, defend, shoot at a high-level and facilitate for his teammates, which is why he is the epitome of what an All-Star is in this league. 

LATEST NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: 3 Front-Court Players For Raptors To Target Via Trade

In his last eight games, Fred VanVleet has scored at least 30 points six times and has averaged 30.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 7.6 assists, 2.0 steals and has shot 45.6% from three-point range while making about 5.9 threes per game.

The tear VanVleet has been on over the last few weeks has been ridiculous and his accomplishments on the floor have not gone unnoticed. Fred VanVleet was recently named the NBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Week for Week 12 of the 2021-22 NBA season, as he helped lift the Raptors to a 4-0 record this past week. 

“Imma be honest, I always think I’m the best player in the gym and sometimes I’m right and sometimes I’m wrong and sometimes you show it and sometimes you don’t,” VanVleet said recently. “That’s just the way I approach the game and you have to enforce that will and enforce your will on the game.”

There really are no limitations to VanVleet’s game right now and with him being a threat to score from the perimeter, as well as on the drive, there is really no way to stop him on offense.

LATEST NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: 3 Front-Court Players For Raptors To Target Via Trade

The Toronto Raptors’ most recent victory came on Sunday over the New Orleans Pelicans and following the game, Pelicans’ rookie Jose Alvarado had some high-praise for Toronto’s point guard. 

“Undrafted and being a leader and hopefully being an All-Star, that’s pretty cool,” Alvarado stated after VanVleet scored 32 points against his team in a 105-101 Raptors’ victory. “I think he is going to be an All-Star. He should be…”

Making the All-Star team is a difficult thing to do in the NBA, especially given all the talent the league currently has, but Fred VanVleet has proven time and time again this season that he is one of the most complete players in the entire league. 

He may only be 6’1” and one of the smallest guys out there on the floor every single night, but Fred VanVleet knows his strengths as a player and has been one of the most dominating players in the league over the last month or so as a result. 

LATEST NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: 3 Front-Court Players For Raptors To Target Via Trade

It is hard to pinpoint many 6’1” guards in NBA history that find the level of success VanVleet does on both ends of the floor, which is why he is deserving of being named a first-time All-Star.

About Brett Siegel 1574 Articles
Brett Siegel joined NBA Analysis Network as an NBA Insider and Journalist in 2020 after previously working with Louisville Basketball and FanSided covering the NBA. For all up-to-date NBA news, stats and rumors, and any inquiries, be sure to follow him on Twitter @BrettSiegelNBA.

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