Title: Fred VanVleet’s near-perfect first half, all-out effort lifts Raptors in Game 1
Date: August 17, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Fred VanVleet lifting the Raptors with maybe the best game of his career in Game 1 against the Nets.
Few people can appreciate just how small the margins are on an NBA court like Fred VanVleet.
VanVleet’s career had to be made on the margins, a story that’s well-told by now. An undrafted free agent, presumed to be too small or unathletic for the next level, grinding to a roster spot, through the G League and, eventually, to becoming one of the top free agents on the market this coming summer. That little room for error manifests in his game, too. Making the NBA did not make him less undersized, meaning his craft and navigation of angles has to be pristine, with back or ankle or toe injuries threatening his effectiveness. Even his 3-point shot, his biggest weapon, comes from a funky-thumbed release with an awkward spin.
He can appreciate, then, a shot in a fun moment that just happens to rattle out after so many in a row had found their way in.