Title: Fred VanVleet’s offence improving for Raptors despite trouble around the rim
Date: January 18, 2021
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I broke down Fred VanVleet’s offensive progression to start the 2020-21 season.
The Toronto Raptors are pulling away from the Charlotte Hornets midway through the second quarter. Stanley Johnson corrals a defensive rebound and pushes up the court, finding Pascal Siakam to lead the break in transition. Siakam draws the attention of three Hornets defenders looking to wall off the paint, treating him like Giannis Antetokounmpo Lite. So Siakam kicks to Fred VanVleet on the wing, usually a safe bet for a quick triple.
Instead, VanVleet attacks an off-balance Gordon Hayward. Devonte’ Graham fills the lane to help Hayward and prevent the drive. Graham, though, bites on a nifty head fake from VanVleet toward the middle of the floor. VanVleet gathers back into the other direction, swinging the ball over and around Graham with a sort of mini-Eurostep. VanVleet draws a bump from Graham, who tries to contest vertically. Despite the nudge, VanVleet is able to get the awkward runner off. It gently kisses the glass and rattles into the net, putting the Raptors up 12.