Dwane Casey: Fred VanVleet is 'clone of Kyle,' deserves All-Star nod

Detroit Pistons head coach and former Toronto Raptors bench boss Dwane Casey describes Fred VanVleet as a clone of Kyle Lowry and feels he is worthy of being an All-Star. Courtesy: Pistons

There are two things that are agitating Toronto Raptors fans at the moment: Chris Paul's mid-range jumper, and the current NBA All-Star voting.

With the second wave of All-Star fan votes coming in on Thursday, Raptors guard Fred VanVleet found himself in the eighth spot among the Eastern Conference guards, moving up from the 10th spot in the first round of voting.

The results may have raised some eyebrows among NBA fans north of the border, seeing as Kyrie Irving, who has played a total of three games this season, has over 200,000 more votes than VanVleet.

VanVleet is currently averaging a career high 22 points and 4.9 rebounds, while matching his career high with 6.6 assists per game. He's also shooting 44.1 per cent from the field -- another career best.

Detroit Pistons head coach and former Raptors bench boss Dwane Casey gave his thoughts on VanVleet's All-Star pursuit and whether the six-year veteran is deserving of a roster spot in Cleveland.

"No question," said Casey, during a pre-game availability on Friday.

"He's become Kyle Lowry. He's a clone of Kyle and just alike. Same body type, same savvy, leadership, I'm proud of Fred. From where he's come from to where he is, it's a huge leap of what he's done."

VanVleet is simply doing what he's done his entire basketball life and career. From his time at Auburn High School in Rockford, IL., to playing collegiate at Wichita St., and now professionally in Toronto, VanVleet keeps rising to the occasion and elevating his game.

"(VanVleet)'s been that way," said Casey. "He's been a winner in college, high school and then when he first walked in in training camp, we were trying to decide whether to keep him or not and he showed it then in training camp. He's earned every bit of what he's getting and what he's doing, and we just hope it's not tonight."

Not to be forgotten is 2020 All-Star Pascal Siakam, who has come alive the past eight games since returning from the league's health and safety protocols -- averaging 24 points and 9.9 rebounds per game during that stretch.

"(VanVleet) should be an All-Star, Pascal (Siakam) is making a statement to be an All-Star the way he's played the last week, so they're hitting on all cylinders right now," said Casey.

Half of the voting totals by fans are used to determine the starting lineups; active players and members of the media determine the other half.

Fan voting closes on Jan. 22, so the two Raptors have a little more time to make their All-Star case to the basketball world.

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