Back up point guard prospects for Raptors

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 27: Delon Wright
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 27: Delon Wright /

With the departure of Corey Joseph during the offseason an opportunity has arisen for either Fred VanVleet or Delon Wright to step into the back up point guard role.

With training camp wrapping up the battle for the back up point guard spot has begun. Let’s examine each candidate.

Fred VanVleet:

LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 10: Fred VanVleet
LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 10: Fred VanVleet /

Fred VanVleet stands 6-feet tall and weighs 195 pounds.

VanVleet won the MVC Larry Bird Player of the Year trophy as both a sophomore and senior at Wichita State where he remains the schools all-time leader in both assists and steals. Following his senior year, he went undrafted in the 2016 NBA draft and signed with the Toronto Raptors.

VanVleet appeared in 37 games as a rookie, averaging 7.9 minutes per game and 2.9 points per contest. He shot 37 percent from deep and drained his free throws at an 81 percent clip.

At 23 years old he is one year removed from his senior year of college and the following is an excerpt from his draft profile available at by Josh Riddell.

  • A steady hand at the point guard position, VanVleet has shown he can be a coach on the floor by being the conductor of an efficient offense, while averaging a solid 16.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 7.6 assists per 40 minutes. He never gets sped up with the ball and doesn’t get fazed by ball pressure or double teams. He keeps the offense flowing and his 7.03 pure point rating is fourth best among all prospects in our top 100. He doesn’t turn the ball over by trying to make highlight reel passes, but he takes care of the ball and has displayed great vision and feel for the game as a creator for his teammates.

VanVleet proved a steadying hand in a back up role when Kyle Lowry went down with his wrist injury last season. That experience should prove valuable as he attempts to regain his backup position this season.

Delon Wright:

MILWAUKEE, WI – APRIL 22: Delon Wright
MILWAUKEE, WI – APRIL 22: Delon Wright /

Delon Wright is measured at 6-foot-5 inches tall and weighs 190 pounds. Wright appeared in 27 games during his sophomore season in the NBA after an injury in summer league of 2016 kept him out of the line up until midway through last season. Wright averaged 16.5 minutes per game and shot 42 percent from the floor, 33 percent from deep and 76 percent from the line. He put up 5.6 points per game, 2.1 assists and one steal as well. Flashing instances of defensive promise, Delon finished the year with a PER of 15.0.

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Injuries have delayed the overall evaluation of Wright as an NBA player so it’s difficult to accurately predict his impact at the professional level. The following is an excerpt from his draft profile available at by Rick Pietro.

  • Outlook:If you are looking for the secret of the Utah Utes first strong season in recent years look no further than this outstanding point guard … After a summer in which he impressed many scouts at the LeBron James Skills Academy, Wright took his game to another level, taking his team to the Sweet 16 and establishing himself as one of the most entertaining and efficient guards in college basketball … If he can get stronger, showing a little more hunger, consistency in his shot and find the right situation, Wright has the potential to become a really solid NBA guard and one of the steals of the draft.



While both Wright and VanVleet each present intriguing options to back up Lowry, only one can ultimately win the minutes. Wright stands taller, longer and more athletic than Lowry while VanVleet closely compares to Lowry’s height and body type minus some of the athleticism.

Due to the physical gifts Wright possesses over VanVleet this should allow him to capture the second unit job with VanVleet relegated to spot minutes as the third string point guard.

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Regardless of this prediction, nothing is written in stone and VanVleet could easily surpass Wright and win the second unit job.

However, Wright’s natural gifts do allow him the best chance at securing the job as back up point guard for the Raptors.