Toronto Raptors: Is Fred VanVleet the best back-up point guard in the NBA?

Toronto Raptors - Fred VanVleet (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Fred VanVleet (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Lorenzo Brown(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) /

4. Monte Morris

Like VanVleet, the rise of Monte Morris was a little unprecedented. The 51st pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Morris played his college ball at Iowa State before the Nuggets took him in the second round and assigned him to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the G-League for his debut season as a pro.

He only made three short appearances for the Nuggets in his rookie season, averaging 3.3 points and 2.3 assists per game in eight minutes of action. It’s not much, but the Nuggets certainly saw something in Morris to keep him around.

They should be glad they did. Morris came to life in his first full season with the team, averaging 10.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game across all 82 games this past year. His impact in the playoffs subsided, though, averaging only half his regular-season points total with plummeting shooting numbers as the Nuggets were bounced out of the playoffs by the Portland Trail Blazers.

Despite his postseason shortcomings, Morris was able to solidify himself as one of the best back-up point guards in the NBA this year and will look to grow on his second full season in the league alongside an exciting Denver Nuggets team.

The 6-foot-3 point guard showed an ability to score at all three levels, shooting a competent true shooting percentage of 57-percent. He showed his ability to create as a playmaker too, a key trait for a back-up point guard – or any point guard. Playing alongside creative scorers like Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Gary Harris certainly helps, but Morris has earned his place.