Raptors’ Fred VanVleet named NBA All-Star, Pascal Siakam snubbed

PORTLAND, OREGON - JANUARY 11: Fred VanVleet #23 and Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OREGON - JANUARY 11: Fred VanVleet #23 and Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors went from a team that many expected to miss out on the postseason to a viable playoff contender over the last three months, and the standout play of Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam has to be cited as one of the main reasons for that uptick. They’ve earned every bit of NBA All-Star Game hype they’ve accrued.

Thought perennial All-Star Kyle Lowry left Toronto in order to link up with Jimmy Butler in Miami, Siakam and VanVleet put up numbers that established them as players that will compete for this coveted nod for years to come. Unfortunately, there was only a limited number of spots to go around.

VanVleet was viewed as the more likely of the two to make it to Cleveland, as the combination of durability, performance in the fourth quarter, and elite two-way skills helped him stand out in an Eastern Conference full of talented guards. VanVleet’s All-Star dreams finally came true, though his partner missed out on his second nod.

VanVleet was named as an All-Star reserve, becoming the fourth undrafted player to receive this honor and the first since Ben Wallace in 2006. Siakam was not named as a reserve despite standout play, but he could potentially make it to Cleveland as an injury replacement.

Toronto Raptors: Fred VanVleet is an All-Star, Pascal Siakam is not.

VanVleet is averaging 21.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 7.0 assists per game. His clutch shooting, which earned him a Player of the Week nomination earlier in January, has helped Toronto take down some of the best teams in the league despite a lack of quality bench depth behind VanVleet and some questionable shooting around him.

Siakam is averaging career-best marks in rebounds per game (8.5) and assists per game (5.1) while pouring in 21.0 points per game. While Siakam has had to start at center to accommodate the likes of OG Anunoby and Scottie Barnes in the starting lineup, he’s taken to that role nicely while playing some of the best basketball of his career.

Considering the team’s record at just above .500 and the deluge of quality guards in the Eastern Conference, VanVleet had almost no margin for error. Even with so many qualified candidates, Freddy All-Star stood out and earned a nomination for the first time in his career.

While Toronto can often suffer when it comes to awards voting thanks to being perpetually overlooked by the media, VanVleet was so ruthless this season that there was no way he could be left out of the All-Star festivities, Congratulations, Fred!

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