2. Taking down Golden State in the Finals
VanVleet earned his first championship ring when he helped Toronto end the Golden State Warriors’ dynasty in six games. While Kawhi Leonard was rightfully heralded for how he helped this team overcome long odds and win it all, VanVleet credited the Raptors’ coaching staff after they devised a perfect gameplan on both sides of the ball.
“I watched a ton of film and I see where guys go wrong,” VanVleet said. “We had a great gameplan, obviously Kevin [Durant] wasn’t out there so that changes things. Now we’re really going to load up…If you can beat us by yourself, you deserve it, bro.”
Fred VanVleet knew the Toronto Raptors could win a title.
While Toronto faced Durant for all of one quarter and Klay Thompson suffered a severe knee injury late in the series, contending with Steph Curry and Draymond Green is still a handful. The Raptors did that while setting the stage for VanVleet to become a household name on the back of his shooting.
VanVleet didn’t take home the Finals MVP trophy thanks to Leonard going nuts for a large chunk of the series, but anyone who watched even a brief segment of these games saw that Fred was making a noticeable impact on those games. After years of playoff failure, VanVleet helped get Toronto over the hump.