Fred VanVleet is entering his seventh NBA season for the Toronto Raptors.
The Wichita State product is tied for being the longest-tenured Raptor with his All-star teammate, Pascal Siakam. Despite the Raptors roster being home to a deep pool of 6’8 plus multitalented and highly switchable wings, VanVleet is barely 6’0, but he fits right in with them.
In fact, VanVleet leads the brigade of titans on both offense and defense. He’s determined to get the best out of himself and his teammates.
“Those are my two secrets. I try to lead by example. And when that doesn’t work, I cuss,” Fred VanVleet said on Monday.
VanVleet has set a tremendous veteran example for his teammates. Last season, VanVleet averaged 20.3 points, 6.7 assists, and 4.4 rebounds en route to his first All-Star game selection. He made the second most three-pointers per game after Stephen Curry.
“He sets (the tone) just because that’s his nature. He competes to win. That’s just who he is. He doesn’t know much better. You guys come to practice tomorrow, and we’ll be playing games that are being scored, and he’ll be out there fighting,” Coach Nick Nurse said about VanVleet’s competitive fire.
“It’s just kind of my job to make sure we get through a good practice,” VanVleet said. “And when we don’t, I blame myself. I’ve got a pretty good track record.”
The Raptors made the playoffs last season, and if they look to do better than their first-round appearance, VanVleet will have a lot to do with it. VanVleet may be their smallest player, but he’s their most prominent voice and so much more.
Photos via Getty Images.