2. VanVleet’s lack of improvement around the rim
This is actually weird to think about. How many times has VanVleet made such a ridiculous layup that it reminds you of Stephen Curry or Kyrie Irving? Quite a few times. And how many times has he missed the easiest possible layup even you or I can make? Every game.
Fred VanVleet’s finishing around the rim has been an area of weakness his whole career and an area he has never even improved on. In his first season he got decent playing time (2017-2018), VanVleet shot 51 percent around the rim. Two years later as a full-time starter, VanVleet is shooting the same number from that area, 51 percent. He ranked among the 18th percentile of all combo guards.
For a player who’s been in the league for four seasons now, the lack of improvement is definitely a cause for concern and something he needs to fix as early as next season. Improving on that end would also send him to the free-throw line that more often.
A prime example is his teammate Kyle Lowry. An undersized guard who shoots 59 percent around the rim and goes to the free-throw line six times a game. For an undersized guard, these numbers are fantastic and definitely not out of reach for a guy as skilled as VanVleet.
It’s time for VanVleet to take Lowry’s technique and use his body when going to the rim. The super fancy layups that go in 1 out of 10 times is not worth the highlight reel. Take your time, be smart, and don’t force awkward layups. We’ve seen this movie too many times and seeing that number at 50 percent again would be a scare to all Raptors fans.