It’s no secret that Fred VanVleet is a driven individual. That is why he bet on himself before his NBA career took off.
“I think this is the year where the expectations match the work,” VanVleet said on The Raptors Show with Will Lou. “I just went super hard (working) my butt off all summer trying to get better. I’m feeling OK about how we have started as a team and myself personally, I am OK with where I am at, but I could be playing a lot better for myself and to just try and impact the game a little bit more in terms of wins and losses.”
Having logged career highs in points (19.6), and minutes (36.5) last season while posting a solid 6.3 assists, VanVleet has set his sights on every possible accolade an NBA player can receive.
“I definitely would like to be an all-star,” said VanVleet. “I want to win all the awards. I want to be All-Defensive … Those are all goals that I have. The good thing for me is that I probably won’t achieve any of those if we aren’t a good team or a top team.”
The Raptors are 6-5 so far this season despite losing the likes of Kyle Lowry to the Miami Heat, although VanVleet’s play has been integral to that decent start to the campaign.
Some of that can also be attributed to head coach Nick Nurse’s handling of the Raptors point guard.
“I’ve always been a coach’s player in terms of I am trying to do what they want us to do,” said VanVleet. “I just kind of do what they want us to do. I am buying in, I believe in what they are preaching and what they are selling and he gives me the freedom and reign to kind of create and do my own thing. At the same time, we have a good unspoken body language kind of thing when I know when he’s talking to me, without talking to me.”
VanVleet, 27, is averaging 18.9 points and 7.2 assists on 43.3 per cent shooting in 38.8 minutes per game in 11 starts this season.