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 – Fred VanVleet (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

2. Fred VanVleet

VanVleet doesn’t make the top spot on the list, but he gets as close as humanly possible. Following on from his 2017-18 season, VanVleet only managed to reinforce his status as one of the NBA’s best back-up point guards.

Not only did VanVleet contribute with the second unit, but he made a big impact with the starting line-up too, starting in 28 of his 64 games this season. Despite missing a large part of the season due to injury, VanVleet slotted back into the team seamlessly. In particular, his March was undeniably impressive, averaging 14.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game, shooting 44-percent from three.

A worryingly poor opening two rounds of the playoffs almost cast VanVleet aside, with unfathomable performances against both the Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers forcing Nick Nurse into a decision.

Thankfully, the Raptors Head Coach stuck with VanVleet and he didn’t look back. VanVleet came up clutch against the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals and then against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.

VanVleet has consistently been a strong three-point shooter since his introduction to the league, in the final two series of the playoffs he reminded everyone just how good he can be from deep, shooting 47-percent from three on just under six attempts per game.

Not to be viewed as just an offensive playmaker, VanVleet put on one of the defensive performances of the playoffs, putting the clamps on two-time MVP Steph Curry in the Finals. If getting a vote for Finals MVP doesn’t solidify your status as one of the best back-up point guards in the NBA, then nothing will.

Fortunately, it does and he is.