Predicting the 2020-2021 Toronto Raptors starting lineup

Fred VanVleet, Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images)
Fred VanVleet, Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Fred VanVleet (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Toronto Raptors starting Shooting Guard – Fred VanVleet

Fred VanVleet finally got his big payday. Following his best season yet with the Toronto Raptors, VanVleet will be looking to build off that. He has gotten better every season he has played, and if history repeats itself, don’t expect that to come to a halt this season.

VanVleet had career-highs in pretty much every statistical category last season: Points, Assists, Steals, 3-PT percentage, and Free Throw percentage. There was not much he didn’t do well. He was as effective off-ball as he was on-ball and played tremendous defense through it all.

The only stain on his game was his finishing around the rim. He shot 51 percent around the rim last season and it’s been an area he has had difficulty with since entering the NBA — he has never shot higher than 52 percent around the rim in his career — this number should be more towards the 58 percent area at least.

VanVleet will too often go for extremely difficult layups or will straight-up avoid contact when driving — something I talked more in-depth about in the past. Improving around the rim has to be the next improvement in his game so he can be a threat from more than just one area — the three-point line.

As for his role this season, I believe Gasol’s departure means that VanVleet will take up a bigger role controlling the offense. Gasol’s role as a  facilitator around the post was an integral part of the Raptors’ offense and without it, the Raptors are going to have to adjust to a new game plan.

This is where I expect the Raptors to lean more heavily on Fred VanVleet. VanVleet will most likely play a bigger part in the halfcourt offense now with Gasol gone.

He may not be the floor general Kyle Lowry is yet. But he is getting there step by step, cheque by cheque.