2. Fred VanVleet, Houston Rockets
The Rockets are experiencing every bit of the VanVleet experience in the early parts of their season. While his efficiency is poor and shot selection is questionable, he has played a big part in taking Houston back to the ranks of the respectable after years down in the dumps. After a poor debut, he’s been on fire.
VanVleet is averaging 17.2 points and 7.9 assists per game for Houston, all while doing a terrific job of making sure top picks like Jabari Smith, Jalen Green, and Alperen Sengun have the touches they need. VanVleet has been a very effective distributor for Ime Udoka’s system.
Fred VanVleet is making plays after leaving the Toronto Raptors.
VanVleet’s passing is what has made Houston’s offense click. His play in Toronto was defined by setting up his teammates. On defense, Udoka’s trademark aggressive style has been an ideal fit for VanVleet. Even with age, his defensive hustle and passion haven’t eroded.
Many a Raptors game went down the drain due to VanVleet playing hero ball, but he seems to have bought into Houston’s egalitarian offensive attack. Time will tell if he adheres to that philosophy all season long and fully justifies the gigantic contract he was given in the offseason.