Toronto Raptors: How good can Fred VanVleet be next season?

Toronto Raptors - Fred VanVleet (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Fred VanVleet (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Fred VanVleet (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

 After breaking out in his second season, Fred VanVleet enters this year as one of the Toronto Raptors most important pieces. We begin our player season previews with a breakdown of the backup point guard.

During his rookie season, Fred VanVleet spent as much time with the Raptors 905 as he did with the Toronto Raptors. Reasonable expectations for the 22 year-old, undrafted rookie would’ve been to simply find a long-term roster spot.

Reasonable expectations don’t apply to Fred VanVleet. The man who bet on himself is now coming off a spectacular sophomore season where he saw himself transform from bench scrub to Sixth Man of the Year candidate. (Lou Williams was the only real candidate with 97 of the 100 votes, but he did finish third)

The breakout season also earned FVV a nice pay-day. This summer VanVleet inked a two-year $18 deal. The contract allows VanVleet to secure legitimate NBA money for the first time in his career and provides the Raptors excellent value with an elite backup at only $9 million a season.

As impressive as last season was for FVV and the Toronto Raptors, it certainly did not end the way he wanted it too. In a nearly meaningless game against the Miami Heat in the final game of the season, VanVleet suffered a “shoulder bruise.”

Unfortunately, the injury turned out to be much more severe than initially expected. VanVleet missed nearly all of the first round series, and even when he was on the court, he clearly looked hindered.

This season VanVleet will look to return to his healthy, regular season self. As the leader of the “bench mob,” we take a look at what VanVleet offers, how he fits in, and what are reasonable expectations for FVV this season.