Toronto Raptors: 30 greatest players of all-time

(Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
(Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /
5 of 31
Toronto Raptors
Fred VanVleet – Toronto Raptors (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

27. Fred VanVleet

Another young gun and a fan favorite for many.

An undrafted free agent out of Wichita State, Shocker by name, shocker by nature. VanVleet’s diminutive size might well have counted against him in the land of giants, but he’s just too good for it to count.

As a 22-year old rookie, Fred VanVleet didn’t see the court too much in his debut season, appearing off the bench in all of his 37 games in 2016-17. VanVleet was limited to garbage time minutes at first. He also spent valuable time as a member of the Raptors 905, averaging 16.9 points and just under eight assists per game in his 16 games featured.

The next year, part of the Bench Mob, was Fred’s ascension to a wider audience. VanVleet was a nominee for the Sixth-Man of the Year award, averaging eight points a game and shooting over 41 percent from three. Fred earned himself a reputation for coming up clutch in big moments.

He nailed a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired to beat the Detroit Pistons in overtime as well as playing heavy minutes in the fourth quarter of most games. Fred rode with the moniker of “Bet on yourself” throughout the season and became one of the most likable Raptors of the modern era. It helps that he’s so good, mind you.

Fred has filled in for Kyle Lowry multiple times during the 2018-19 and has looked comfortable in the role as a starter. The Raptors could well have their point guard of the future in VanVleet, it’s about time the rest of the NBA bets on VanVleet, not just Toronto.

The Champ is here.