Raptors: Fred VanVleet getting his mojo back vs. Lakers is perfect for this team

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 07: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 07: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors have underperformed in the last few weeks, and the poor offensive production of Fred VanVleet was one of the main reasons why. Even against a beaten-up Los Angeles Lakers, confidence in VanVleet’s abilities wasn’t exactly permeating through Scotiabank Arena.

VanVleet went over two weeks without scoring 14 points in a game, and it was almost a full month (November 11 vs. Oklahoma City) since he last shot over 40% in a game. With LA missing both LeBron James and Anthony Davis, VanVleet stepped on the gas.

At the end of the first half, VanVleet had 18 points while displaying some efficiency. With three rebounds, five assists, and a +20 on his ledger, VanVleet was cooking. In Toronto’s 126-113 victory against LA, he finished with 25 points on 8-20 shooting from the field to accentuate brilliant nights from Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes

This is the version of VanVleet that the Raptors absolutely need to have if they want to have any chance of competing for a high playoff seed. While still not a virtuous performance like we saw in some of the Siakam-less games last year, that could be coming if he keeps playing like this.

The Toronto Raptors were led by Fred VanVleet against the Lakers.

Toronto was going to give No. 23 every opportunity to get right, as they lacked a viable long-term option at point guard that could be inserted into the lineup if FVV underperformed. Unbowed by this poor stretch, VanVleet came out with something to prove against the Lakers.

Nick Nurse was not overly stressed about VanVleet’s struggles. He seems to believe that they stem from a mechanical issue that can be corrected in practice. Fred himself wasn’t panicking, believing (correctly) that he had all the tools necessary to overcome a poor stretch and return to his old self.

VanVleet is one of the few above-average 3-point shooters on a team that has been ice-cold more often than not from that range. Once he clicks from that area and gets back to what he was, Toronto’s offense will get back to the same lofty heights they were at during the end of last regular season.

Fans still have a right to be worried about VanVleet’s 3-point shooting, but this was the best he’s looked on offense in a month. Quality of the opponent aside, it’s nice to see an All-Star player get back on the horse and show fans that he can still be brilliant.

Next. 4 huge trades to shake up the roster. dark