“Overlooking Us Again”: Toronto Raptors’ Fred VanVleet Hits Back at Critics

Toronto Raptors' Fred VanVeet

Perseverance isn’t always about winning something, but about always stretching to keep getting better at your art. Raptors’ poster boy Fred VanVleet understands this, and it is this tenacity that has gotten him this far in the league.

Just a couple of days ago, FVV signed an $85 million 4-year deal with the Raptors. This contract officially got his name in the history books because no other undrafted NBA player had ever received such a humongous confirmation. 

Fred VanVleet does not like people discounting the Toronto Raptors

Fred VanVleet of Toronto Raptors
Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors runs with the ball during the Toronto Raptors vs Chicago Bulls NBA regular-season game on February 02, 2020, in Toronto, Canada (Toronto Raptors won 129-102) (Photo by Anatoliy Cherkasov/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

In a recent interview, Fred agreed that the general consensus is against the idea of the Raptors bouncing back. He expressed, “I think we’re kind of headed back in the direction of where we were pre-Kawhi [Leonard], where people are overlooking us again, which is not a bad place to be in.”

Evidently, the Raptors had a twist of fate when they gave away DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a protected 2019 1st-round pick to the Spurs for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. They also had a bit of luck in the NBA Finals 2020, where both Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson injured themselves to hand victory to the Raptors.

But now, the Raptors have lost Marc Gasol (Lakers) and Serge Ibaka (Clippers) and gained possession of players like Aron Baynes and Chris Boucher to strengthen their core. Still, it does not look like the same 2018-19 champion team to many.

FVV will have to stand to the occasion

Fred might be just three seasons old in the NBA, but his credentials show a graph that can soon make him one of the best Raptors. His average per game has improved from 8.6 points in 2017-18 to 17.6 ppg in the last season. He has also become better at defense and playmaking in the last couple of seasons. The undrafted point guard who came after playing in the G League started all the 54 games he played in 2019-20. 

Not just this, Fred has shown that he can play under the post-season pressure by coming out bravely against the Bucks and Warriors in the previous season. Also, this year, he achieved a career-high average of 19.6 ppg, 4.4 boards, 6.9 assists, and 1.6 steals in the playoffs.

While talking about winning the ring or personal accolades, Fred said, “Now I’m just locked in on that next championship. That feeling of winning a championship, it trumps anything I’ve ever done in my life, in my career… So trying to chase that next championship, that’s what I’m locked in on.”

Can the Raptors produce great results playing Tampa, Florida, without a home crowd? 

Get notified about breaking news and watch highlights on the go; join the Arena on NBA Hoops

Sourabh Singh

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. I intend to make popularise my quote when I say sports define me better than I define sports. See ya’all Champs!