The Toronto Raptors have been trying to lean on players like Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. to stop their losing streak, but even their best efforts haven’t helped the squad get back in the win column consistently. The Raptors may have beaten the rival Boston Celtics, but two straight disappointing losses against the Pistons and Trail Blazers are concerning.
The Raptors went from a team that looked poised to compete for a premium spot in the Eastern Conference to a squad that might need to fight to make it to the postseason given all of the young players and moving parts on the roster.
Whatever magic formula that Nick Nurse cooked up in the first few weeks has completely dissipated into thin air, as Pascal Siakam has been unable to fix what has been a suspect defense that even below-average defenses have been exploited.
It’s time to take stock of the Raptors as they try to figure out a way to get back on the right track. Who is doing their part to keep this team afloat? Are there any players or trends that have set off alarms?
Stock up, stock down after a tough week for the Toronto Raptors.
Stock Up: Fred VanVleet
VanVleet got off to a concerning start early in the year due to his inefficiency shooting the ball, but he has responded dominantly. Not only is he filling up the stat sheet on offense, but he’s doing so with efficiency numbers that blow last season totally out of the water.
VanVleet has averaged 21.3 points, 6.7 assists, and 5.0 rebounds per game over the last week. Not only is he shooting 45% from the field, but he’s making half of his 3-point attempts despite chucking up over nine per game. VanVleet and his incredibly strong groin have been carrying the offense.
Fred VanVleet is showing off his skills for the Toronto Raptors.
VanVleet’s efforts may have been in vain, but he did help Toronto come within inches of completing a furious comeback in the Portland loss. The entire NBA world knows exactly how clutch VanVleet can be considering the dagger he hit to bury a sliding 76ers team dramatically.
With Kyle Lowry gone, VanVleet appears more than comfortable with assuming the role he vacated. While he still has a bit to go when it comes to leading Toronto to victories, it appears as though he’s making some serious progress when it comes to leading the charge on offense.