Title: Fred VanVleet Has Developed into a Legit Piece for Toronto
Date: November 30, 2017
Original Source: Vice
Synopsis: In my latest for Vice, I wrote about Fred VanVleet going from undrafted free agent to NBA plus-minus demigod.
The Toronto Raptors were slipping in another third quarter. Armed with a 19-point halftime lead, the Raptors let off the gas, the Charlotte Hornets scored on nine consecutive possessions, and a frustrated Dwane Casey went to his bench. Enter Fred VanVleet late in the quarter, a somewhat unlikely stabilizing force. A third-string point guard at the heart of a good deal of Toronto’s early success, VanVleet helped calm things, ultimately earning the close-out nod in the fourth and finishing the game a plus-11 with a career-best nine assists in Wednesday’s win over Charlotte.
This was not an isolated incident. For weeks now, VanVleet has been the Raptors’ plus-minus demigod, with the team outscoring opponents by 20.6 points per-100 possessions when he’s on the floor this season. That mark is not only the best net rating on the team, it’s the best mark in the entire NBA among qualified players. In other words, no player in the league has been playing to a more lopsided score, and even if the qualifiers are lowered, only Zaza Pachulia, Nene, and Jordan Bell can hang with VanVleet’s plus-18.5 score per-48 minutes.