2. An enhanced role for Fred VanVleet
VanVleet sliding into the point guard role after Lowry left made so much sense. Not only was he capable of being the team’s leader from an emotional point of view, but because he has the scoring skill, hard-nosed defense, and superb passing to mimic what Lowry had done for nearly a decade.
VanVleet set new career-best marks across the board last season while establishing himself as one of the league’s most consistent 3-point shooters. Had it not been for nagging injuries eating away at his productivity, the All-Star point guard could have made a very robust challenge for an All-NBA spot.
Fred VanVleet has taken Kyle Lowry’s role with the Toronto Raptors.
While Masai Ujiri is a renowned roster builder and ensures his stars are taken care of, he has shown that he will not let nostalgia goggles blind him from improving the team at the moment. Ujiri saw that VanVleet was ready to become a true star, though it took jettisoning a legend to do it.
Lowry spent the last few seasons of his Raptors tenure molding VanVleet into an electric player that is capable of leading a team as the primary ball-handler. Given the circumstances, the student took over from the master at the perfect time.