Raptors: The ceiling and floor for Fred Vanvleet for the 2021-22 season

TAMPA, FLORIDA - MARCH 24: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FLORIDA - MARCH 24: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

Before the 2020-21 season, Toronto Raptors star Fred VanVleet got paid. He signed a four-year, $85 million contract, which is an average annual value of $21,250,000. There were certainly a few people who called his contract an overpay, but VanVleet quickly proved them wrong.

No. 23 had an exceptional season in 2020-21. He had a stat line of 19.6 points, 6.3 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game. He averaged a career-high in points and rebounds while being a threat to the opposition on the defensive end of the court. VanVleet is one of the best two-way guards in the NBA, and a lack of media focus does not change that.

Going deeper into his stats from last season, the only weakness in his game is his shooting efficiency, as he made under 40% of his shot attempts. It is worth noting that VanVleet attempted the fourth-most 3 point attempts in the NBA behind Buddy Hield, Damian Lillard, and Steph Curry.

He paired that all with elite defense, as he was routinely one of the most disruptive players in the league on the perimeter despite his size. Look for him to get the All-Defensive team voters interested in his play this season.

With all of that in mind, how is 2021 looking for VanVleet? Will he fall on his face as he assumed a leadership role, or will he have the best season of his career?

Toronto Raptors: Fred VanVleet has a high ceiling in 2021-22.

During this post-Lowry era, it is evident that the Raptors are now Vanvleet’s team. Last season, Vanvleet was second in the NBA for minutes played per game behind Julius Randle.

With Lowry gone, I would assume Vanvleet would play around the same amount of minutes. I also expect his usage rate to go up with the absence of Pascal Siakam.

If VanVleet improved his shot in the offseason, I would expect his ceiling to be around 23 points, seven assists, and four rebounds on around 41% FG. With these numbers, Vanvleet will be able to become an All-Star for the first time in his career, assuming his defense is excellent again and the voters give him a lucky break or two.

There were times last year where he was clearly forcing things. With a more stable infrastructure around him this year, look for VanVleet’s production to get kicked up a notch.

Fred Vanvleet’s floor for the 2021-22 season

Although VanVleet is getting one of the biggest opportunities in his career to lead this young team, the best-laid plans often go awry. Assuming that VanVleet doesn’t correct his efficiency issues and struggles with finishing at the rim, he might not be able to take the step forward many are expecting.

VanVleet’s floor would be similar to his stats from last season. His floor would be around 18 points, six assists, and three rebounds per game while averaging just over a steal per game and shooting below 40% from the field.

Those numbers would put him in the same camp Siakam was in last year. While the raw averages look good the fact that he would’ve failed to take a step forward could adversely impact the Raptors in the standings and start to erode his status as an elite two-way guard.

Nonetheless, VanVleet will play a huge role for the Raptors next season. It is his time to take over the team and fill the void left by Lowry, and every point of data we have suggests he will do so.

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