3 reasonable goals for Raptors PG Fred VanVleet in 2022-23
The Toronto Raptors knew they had something special in Fred VanVleet for years, but his ability couldn’t be truly unlocked until Kyle Lowry parted ways with the team and vacated the starting point guard role. VanVleet has assumed his role, and the early returns are fantastic.
VanVleet was an All-Star for the first time in his career, setting a new personal best mark in points per game and ranking near the top of the league in 3-pointers made, steals, and deflections. The Raptors wouldn’t have won anything close to 48 games without him.
Though the Raptors and VanVleet have agreed on the fact that playing him close to 40 minutes every night is not a sustainable way to conduct this team. This could lead to a dip in his statistics, but not the impact he will have on a given game or this season as a whole.
VanVleet has always preached the value of striving for constant self-improvement, and he could take some extra steps forward this season if he gets into a groove early on. VanVleet should start 2022-23 with these three goals in mind as he prepares to lead the Raptors once again.
3 goals for Raptors PG Fred VanVleet in 2022-23.
3. Improve finishing at the rim.
While it’s difficult to be a truly effective scorer close to the basket at VanVleet’s size, the lack of an awesome interior game is what limited him to a sub-40% field goal percentage in Tampa. He won’t make All-Star teams regularly if he continues to be a one-dimensional scorer.
VanVleet shot right around 46% in the paint and 45% at the rim, which is well below the league average. VanVleet’s 20 points per game came mostly from beyond the 3-point line, so the fact he was able to be that effective while being somewhat predictable in his attack style is even more impressive in retrospect.
Toronto Raptors: Fred VanVleet needs to be better inside.
VanVleet has a solid midrange game that could be utilized a bit more this season, and he remains one of the best in the league at passing the ball to the perimeter after knifing through the lane. We just need to see an iota of added consistency.
Even if his shot attempts per game shrink ever so slightly, VanVleet will be able to replicate his points per game numbers if he can be a bit more efficient in the paint. Considering how VanVleet has proved doubters wrong at quite literally every juncture in his career, silencing those who doubt his scoring versatility will be a piece of cake.