In the past three seasons, Fred VanVleet has proved to be a more than capable point guard for the Toronto Raptors. Is he the best back-up point guard in the NBA?
As an undrafted free agent just signing for the Toronto Raptors back in 2016, expectations were low for Fred VanVleet as an NBA caliber player. It’s no slight on him, but it’s rare for undrafted free agents to make an impact, especially one as great as Fred VanVleet has over the past two seasons for the Toronto Raptors.
The former Wichita State Shocker has been a revelation for the Raptors in the last two years, after initially being on the fringes of the roster in his rookie season. VanVleet was resigned to garbage time minutes in his first year, stuck behind Cory Joseph in the 37 games he did play, averaging just 7.9 minutes per game.
When Joseph moved on to the Indiana Pacers the following summer in a sign-and-trade for C.J. Miles, the Raptors were comfortable with the idea of VanVleet being their primary back-up point guard. Fans had only really seen flashes of VanVleet, but trusting in this front office was an easy thing to do.
From then on, VanVleet evolved into one of the stories of the NBA. His first season as a featured player for the Raptors saw him average 8.6 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game, shooting a dynamite 41-percent from three. Ultimately, his performances led to him being in the running for Sixth Man of the Year, and while he didn’t win, he managed to make a name for himself and earn a substantial extension with the Raptors.
Last season proved to be even better for VanVleet, upping his scoring numbers while playing an even bigger role for the Raptors, it was his best campaign to date and one can only hope he continues to grow.
The past two seasons have seen him grow into one of the best back-up point guards in the NBA. He definitely grades as one of the best back-ups in the league, but is he the best?