2. Average seven assists per game.
The Raptors can count on VanVleet to go for 20 points every night with regularity, but they also need to make sure their four other starters are all being taken care of and given enough shots. To ensure that both of these objectives are met, VanVleet may need to take on a larger role as a passer and distributor this season.
VanVleet has averaged more than six assists per game in each of the last three seasons, though he may need to step things up this season. We know he’s one of the most creative passers in the league, and we are also aware of the fact rising star Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, and Gary Trent Jr. need shot attempts.
Put two and two together.
Fred VanVleet must lead the Raptors in assists.
VanVleet recorded eight or more assists in a game 23 times last season, including an absurd 17-assist performance early in the season against the Bulls. Kyle Lowry averaged just under eight assists per game as the lead point guard in Nick Nurse’s offense, so this scheme can produce gaudy box score numbers.
If there is one thing that can be a major handicap of Nurse’s offense, there are times when ball movement stops and the half-court offense turns into iso-ball. If this coaching staff wants to break those tendencies, they must enable VanVleet to become a master disher surrounded by an armada of capable scorers.