RAPTORS BLOG: Tribute to Fred VanVleet for a well-deserved nod to the stars

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First, belated congratulations to Fred VanVleet on his well-deserved star selection. I went on vacation this week, but you can find some great VanVleet pieces on her remarkable journey.

The torch has now passed entirely from Kyle Lowry to VanVleet. Just as Lowry predicted on January 30, 2020, “He’ll be an All-Star someday,” VanVleet did it and became Toronto’s leader and bandleader.

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He wasn’t always sure he could make it – not because he didn’t believe in himself, that was never a problem with Fred – but because he knew he wasn’t. flashy, was not the type of player that captivated fans. and won their support. Most of the media slept on him too. His only official votes for all-defensive teams have come from Toronto writers who watch him every day.

But the coaches and his teammates know what’s going on and they brought him to the game in Cleveland.

What a story.

Dan Tolzman did it when VanVleet surprisingly went undrafted and Toronto was a perfect fit. G League champion. NBA champion and now All-Star.

And it all started with VanVleet having to scramble and tear himself away just to put together a heavy team of guards (which included Lowry, Cory Joseph and Delon Wright). He beat Canadian Brady Heslip for 15 and place, Wright’s injury significantly helping his cause. If not, perhaps VanVleet should have moved up the ranks to another team. He surely would have made it, because that’s just who he is, but it was fortuitous for him and for the Raptors that he stayed and learned from Lowry and others in many ways.

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“They show interest in developing young talent and that’s key,” VanVleet told me at the time.

“I’m a bit savvy in my experience, but I haven’t played (in the NBA), but I’m a bit more mature, so that also plays a role. I’m not 18, most organizations, if you’re not 18, don’t really develop you.

“They may be looking for a vet, but they’ve shown they’re developing talent with guys like Norm, Bruno and Delon. So I’m just trying to develop the plan and work on things. I keep my head down I work hard and I do what I do I don’t try to be anything special outside of myself and I just play my part and contribute to winning that’s what I am proud, contribute to win.

Contribute to win. Fred certainly did. Not a bad business card.

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– Who seemed more embarrassed to be snubbed for a deserved star spot, Pascal Siakam or Cleveland’s Jarrett Allen? Siakam may have had the most effective offensive game of his career against Atlanta (including 3-for-3 3-pointers and 8-for-9 from the line), but Allen wasted 29 points and 22 rebounds on Charlotte in one- points victory. I understand the reasoning for not giving Cleveland or Toronto two stars, but Khris Middleton’s choice was odd (Siakam and Allen deserved it over Middleton, as did his own teammate, Jrue Holiday, despite Holiday being a backcourt player ) . Either way, are Cleveland and Toronto poised to become two of the East’s perennial threats for years to come (just like they were not too long ago?).

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“What the hell was Portland thinking?” Admittedly, it’s a bit of a mess in the country of the Blazers at the moment. The team’s longtime owner Paul Allen has died and his sister is said to be looking to cut costs. Former departed general manager Damian Lillard hasn’t looked alike since the Tokyo Olympics and who knows if he will stick around for the long term. CJ McCollum is not getting any younger. They knocked out Gary Trent Jr., who is obviously dating the Raptors, Isaiah Stewart, a handsome young big man, and a few first-round picks last year to get Norman Powell, Robert Covington and Larry Nance Jr. Yikes.

Now they’ve moved Powell and Covington to the Clippers in order to get a big luxury tax payout (they went under tax with the moves), making a billionaire even wealthier. They also cut a long-term salary and maybe could move Eric Bledsoe for a second-round pick or something and they got another second, but it’s a really horrible, inexplicable job.

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On the other hand, another Microsoft billionaire, Steve Ballmer, went the other way, dramatically increasing his luxury tax bill by bringing in Powell and Covington. That’s even though Kawhi Leonard might not even play this season (and Paul George might not be 100% until next year either). Now, the Clippers have reunited Kawhi, Norm and Serge Ibaka once again. If everyone is healthy next year, this will definitely be one of the favorites.

ANCIENT RAPTOR OF THE NIGHT:

Jacob Poeltl.

Will they or not? Will Poeltl move on next week or will he remain the center of San Antonio’s future? Poeltl had 21 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks and 3 assists in a win over Houston. He’ll never be a great goalscorer (it was the fifth most points he scored in a game), but he does almost everything else well and will be in demand. He’s an unrestricted free agent after next season and the Spurs are rebuilding. His future probably depends on what someone is willing to offer for Poeltl. If it’s just mediocre stuff, expect him to stick around.

NIGHT CANADIAN:

Lu sleeps.

The player with the best contract in the NBA keeps bringing it. Dort had 23 points and 7 rebounds, helping the impoverished Thunder win against the hapless Blazers. It’s unfortunate that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is injured again, but Dort will be the team’s top scorer in his absence. Let’s see how he handles the role.

THREE STARS

1Pascal Siakam

2 Fred Van Vleet

3 Trae Young

THREE STARS AGAINST. BULLS

1Pascal Siakam

2 Kevin Huerter

3 Scottie Barnes

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