‘I Went From Underrated To Overrated Very Fast’| Fred VanVleet Says He’s Got To Level Up For Toronto Raptors To Regain Elite Status

(Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)

Fred VanVleet’s mindset is second to none, and the NBA champion says he feels like we have yet to see his best basketball.

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VanVleet reflected on his season and the short-lived playoff run that ended in Toronto being eliminated in six games by the Philadelphia 76ers. He was hard on himself, expressing that his production this past season wasn’t enough, and that he’s at the point where he has to find ways to get better if the Raptors want to win big. 

“I’m never too proud to ask for help or seek out advice. I’m at that crossroads where 20 points isn’t a good game anymore. I went from underrated to overrated very fast. I gotta start thinking outside the box, I’ve gotta get uncomfortable, I’ve gotta find ways to get better” VanVleet told Josh Lewenberg.

This is coming from a man who just averaged 20.3 points per game, 4 rebounds per game, and 6.7 assists per game. He also made his first All-Star game this year, and helped lead the Raptors to a 48-34 record, and the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. 

VanVleet dealt with a few injuries this past season. In the middle of the season just before the All-Star break, VanVleet suffered a bruised knee which limited him to nine minutes of court time in his first ever all-star game. After that, he was able to put together a good second half of the season until the playoffs came.

VanVleet suffered a hip injury in Game 4 of the 76ers series and that injury ultimately sidelined him for the duration of the playoffs. Though the Raptors were able to nearly claw their way back into the series after falling down 3-0 to the Sixers and winning 2 in a row, it wasn’t enough as the Raptors without their All-Star point guard couldn’t beat the Sixers again losing in six.

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One could make the argument that missing a 20 points-per-game scorer who dishes out nearly seven assists per game is the main reason the Raptors couldn’t complete the comeback.

NBA Fairytale: Dreams Come True

VanVleet is famously known for being one of the greatest undrafted players in history. The Wichita State standout didn’t get drafted, but evidently worked his tail off, and the work paid off as he’s had his best season of his career this year.

Since the 2019 championship run, VanVleet has made a name for himself, performing at the highest level on the biggest stages with the likes of Steph Curry, Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry as teammates.

After Lowry’s departure in the off season, VanVleet’s season was perfect timing for the Raptors, as they didn’t miss a beat after Lowry went to Miami in the off season. 

But even after an all-star season, VanVleet still feels like he has a lot of work left to do. 

“I’m always open to finding solutions to problems,” VanVleet said regarding exploring ways to better withstand the grind of a long season and be healthier going into playoffs. Plans to spend the summer looking at different treatments/conditioning routines. “It’s on me,” VanVleet said. 

This is nothing new to Fred VanVleet, as he has spent his whole career improving his game and finding ways to get better. He has been doubted every step of the way, whether it was going undrafted, not being good enough to be a starter in the league, not being able to win a championship, and not being able to be a star in this league. He has silenced all of those critics, while becoming a beloved contributor to the country of Canada. Now his next step is to up his game and break a new level of stardom and success. VanVleet is going to put himself to the test this off-season, and fans will be looking to see what he does next season for the Raptors.