The Toronto Raptors underwent a seismic facelift in the offseason, as they officially turned the page on Kyle Lowry and are moving on with Fred VanVleet as the top dog in the backcourt. As hard as that may be to believe, is there a chance that this leads to some All-Star recognition for No. 23?
VanVleet has a chance to overtake Lowry and make the All-Star team this year. After Raptors fans lost Lowry to the Heat and had to watch Heat fans hype him all offseason on social media, seeing VanVleet make the team might be satisfying in that regard.
Last season neither made the team, but six guards (Bradley Beal, Kyrie Irving, Zach Lavine, Jaylen Brown, Ben Simmons, James Harden) did ahead of them. Because a Simmons trade seems inevitable at this moment and Irving’s vaccine stance is keeping him away from the court, there should be at least two All-Star spots up for grabs.
That means Lowry, VanVleet, Trae Young, and DeMar DeRozan, should all have a good chance to be an Eastern All-Star. Ideally, it would be great if VanVleet and Lowry both made the team, but the odds of both taking a spot from Ice Trae are slimmer than the man himself.
Will the Toronto Raptors get an All-Star season out of VanVleet? If he checks these 3 boxes, that season may come at the expense of Lowry.
Toronto Raptors: 3 things Fred VanVleet must do to make an All-Star Game.
1. Average at least 20 points per game.
Buckets! He needs to get a lot of buckets this year. Last season, the only eastern All-Star that scored under 20 points per game was Simmons. VanVleet averaged a career-high 19.6 points last season.
Every player that finished the season in the top 10 in scoring made the All-Star team last year, and everyone in the top 15 made the team except Young. Scoring points is by far the easiest way to lock up an All-Star roster spot.
While it’s probably a long shot that VanVleet will be a top-15 scorer, the closer he can get, the better. Pascal Siakam will miss a few games at the start of the season, so theoretically, VanVleet should be the first or second scoring option while Siakam is gone.
Will Raptors guard Fred VanVleet break his scoring personal best?
The players and media voters will have a hard time justifying leaving him off this year if he’s a 20 point per game guy this year, irrespective of Toronto’s record. If Toronto starts winning, it will be almost impossible to do so.
VanVleet has raised his scoring every season he’s been in the league and, without Lowry, this is his team. Lowry averaged 17.2 points last year, is on a new team, and has competition for shots. VanVleet should be able to average at least four more points than Lowry.
This could be the deciding factor if Miami isn’t a top-four team in the East around the break.