Fred VanVleet continues to make his case to be an all-star in Raptors’ victory over the Bucks

Everyone is fixating on the recent figures and that makes some sense, because what Fred VanVleet has been doing in the last few weeks is jaw-dropping, something that is rarely seen around the Raptors.

He seems to make every three-pointer he looks at, a deadly catch-and-shoot artist who also just pulls up in the transition and drops jumpers at any moment he wants. And he falls nights of 30 points when he shoots in an empty gym against no defenders.

VanVleet, who had scored 18 of 30 three-pointers in his previous three games, drilled five more on Wednesday as the Raptors overcame a terrible first half to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 117-111 and run their winning streak to four games.

After conceding a season-low 77 points in the first half, the Raptors conceded just 11 in the third quarter against a Bucks team playing without Giannis Antetokounmpo. Pascal Siakam led the Raptors with 33 points, while Gary Trent Jr. and OG Anunoby each had 22. VanVleet finished with 19, the first time in four games that he scored less than 30.

That output has useful talk about VanVleet’s all-star aspirations. With the first round of fan voting expected to be released Thursday, a local uproar will erupt if he is not among the conference leaders.

But when it comes to what makes an all-star an all-star, the reason why a particular player should be revered over others for the season he is assembling and the impact he has on the franchise and the competition, VanVleet’s figures do not tell the whole story.

Yes, they are incredible at the moment, and maybe they are just fleeting, but VanVleet should get all-star consideration because of the overall package he represents.

“It’s good to have the older vet you respect, and Freddy is in that role right now,” said Raptors center Khem Birch. “Once Freddy talks, we all listen.”

The depth of talent VanVleet competes against to make his first all-star team is formidable. The roster is limited to 12 players, of whom at least half must be frontcourt players. Among the backcourt group, DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, Trae Young, James Harden, Kyle Lowry, Darius Garland and Jrue Holiday are all sure to get some consideration as fans, coaches, players and a select media panel eventually top Eastern’s list Conference resolutions. this month.

Pure figures would certainly work in VanVleet’s favor, but, just as importantly, intangible objects should too. The 27-year-old is unquestionably the leader of Toronto and her heart and motor, the Raptors are a good team that is doing well at the moment and it is because VanVleet is forcing and coalescing them.

“Guys who have that underdog mentality, or have been through some battles to get to where they are, or have really risen to survive some challenges and overcome the opportunities and all those things, those are the ones who rap will believe in a game plan and help you execute it and help you spread it to the rest of the team and the rest of the locker room, “said Raptors coach Nick Nurse.

“Winning and his competitive nature are high there … People say that a lot about him, and it sometimes comes almost flippant. It certainly should not, because the competitive nature and the desire to win, that’s real, “really huge and really, really important. That part of it is the most important thing to me. He’s great at coaching. He’s tough. He wants to win, he wants to fight. Great for the culture.”

Make no mistake, becoming an all-star is what VanVleet wants badly, it will be further recognition of his talents and his place in the league. But he will only seek the honor by being himself, which is hardly surprising.

“I will continue to put the team first and put winning first and see where all that praise and those achievements fall,” he told reporters recently. “I do not think I need to tell you how I feel about myself. I have great teammates, a great coaching staff, a great organization that believes in me. And the fan base has certainly made a wave on the internet, for sure.

That wave may get him to Cleveland for all-star weekend Feb.18-20, and it should. But he needs to be an all-star, not because it validates his score or shots, but because it confirms what he is on a deeper level.

“He has a great family and knows how hard he works – and for me watching him grow since we got together – it was great,” said teammate Pascal Siakam. “I feel he deserves it absolutely and he’s done all the work and the numbers show it and of course I as a brother want him to be there. And, yes, Raptors fans, do what you do and let’s get him out. . ”

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