2. Be in the All-Defensive team discussion.
VanVleet is already one of the best defensive point guards in the game. He just needs to stay healthy and prove it again. With the new defensive rule changes in effect, this is the perfect opportunity for him to raise his stock on defense, even more, and put the league on notice.
Scoring points isn’t the only way to get All-Star recognition. Rudy Gobert definitely wasn’t selected to the team twice because of his offense, and the same is true to a lesser degree for Simmons.
Many might say VanVleet isn’t on their level as a defender, but he’s as close as it gets for a point guard that’s barely over six feet. His value as a defender won’t be ignored by players and media voters when they check off their ballots.
Fred VanVleet will help lead the Toronto Raptors on defense.
If VanVleet is defending at an All-Defensive level, he will have a huge advantage over Lowry and the rest of the guards in the East All-Star conversation. At 27, VanVleet is in his physical prime, and while Lowry was one of the best defensive point guards you could ask for, VanVleet is on the cusp of exceeding him.
The Raptors had a lot of great defenders when they won the championship. Even in what is being billed as a retooling year, VanVleet’s impact on that side of the ball should be more evident than ever. If the All-Star voters take defense into the equation, don’t be surprised if FVV makes the final cut.