Is starting Fred VanVleet the right choice for the Toronto Raptors?

Toronto Raptors - Fred VanVleet (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Fred VanVleet (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Fred VanVleet (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /

Why VanVleet shouldn’t start

The reasons for VanVleet not starting don’t particularly exist because of any deficiencies with his own game. It’s more of a case of what’s lacking when he isn’t on the court – specifically when the bench unit is on the court for the Raptors.

Last postseason, the Raptors were able to rely on the productivity of their bench in big moments. All three of Serge Ibaka, Fred VanVleet, and Norman Powell came to life in the playoffs, with Ibaka having big games against the Philadelphia 76ers and Golden State Warriors, while VanVleet and Powell showing up big against the Milwaukee Bucks and Warriors, respectively.

VanVleet could come in when the starting offense sat out, and he would be able to conjure something up as well as efficiently running the offense. He was a safety net in the postseason and the regular season, and one of the best back-up point guards in the league.

Now, with VanVleet in the starting lineup, the stability of the bench feels a lot less trusted. Nick Nurse has been a little trepidatious when it comes to running out deeper rotations so far this season. The first two games of the season saw him run exclusively tight 8-man rotations, before really starting to stretch out his options.

The problem is, no matter how deep the bench goes, there isn’t a player close to the ability of VanVleet.