Fred VanVleet does Raptors proud in first All-Star Game appearance

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - FEBRUARY 14: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - FEBRUARY 14: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors may have only had one representative at the 2022 NBA All-Star game, but Fred VanVleet was able to strut his stuff in front of the entire NBA world. VanVleet rode a scintillating start to become the first undrafted player since Ben Wallace in 2006 to earn an All-Star Game nod.

Selecting for LeBron James’ team, VanVleet was coming off of the bench alongside names like Darius Garland, Luka Doncic, and Jimmy Butler. VanVleet knew that he needed to make the most of what few shots he was going to get in this game, and he took advantage.

Even though he played just nine minutes, VanVleet managed to fill the stat sheet, recording six points on 2-4 shooting while grabbing two rebounds and dishing out three assists. While the All-Star game doesn’t exactly have lockdown defense, it was nice to see VanVleet hit a few triples.

VanVleet helped made sure that the Raptors came out on top in this game, as Team LeBron pulled out a 163-160 win over Team Durant. Steph Curry is deserving of most of the attention due to his unreal shooting, but it was still heartwarming to see VanVleet out there on the floor.

Toronto Raptors: Fred VanVleet made a few All-Star Game three-pointers.

VanVleet had to have known he was not going to get as many minutes as some of the heavy hitters in this game. However, that didn’t stop Fred from being productive in his limited time on the floor. Hopefully, VanVleet used this year to set the stage for a future season in which he is in the starting lineup.

On top of names like Kyle Lowry shouting out VanVleet after overcoming the odds, former Raptor and Team LeBron running mate Demar DeRozan was thrilled for VanVleet’s inclusion, saying that he “feels like a proud father right now.”

Between Precious Achiuwa nearly winning in the Rising Stars game, Scottie Barnes’ performances in the Clutch Challenge and Skills Challenge, and VanVleet making a go of it in the Three-Point shootout, the All-Star festivities in Cleveland had a very distinct Canadian feel to them.

Let’s just take a moment to realize how awesome this was for VanVleet and the Raptors. An undrafted 6-0 guard from Wichita State was being treated as an equal alongside names like LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Knowing what we know about him, it might be unlikely that this ends up as his only All-Star nod.

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