Time To Move On From Fred Vanvleet Now!

I have not posted here for years but after watching last night the Raptors' monumental collapse and play-in game come from behind loss to the Chicago Bulls, I have decided to pick up the pen again.

While the reason they lost last night was the 18 missed free throws, reflecting on their performance as a team since Lowry left for Miami, I like to state my view unequivocally that it is time for the Raptors to move on from Fred Vanvleet.

The most compelling reason is Vanvleet cannot guard the likes of Zach Lavine, Tyrese Maxey and Haliburton, Paul George, Drue Holiday, Marcus Smart, Kyrie Irving, Tyler Herro, Malcolm Brogdon and other guards who are faster, taller, jumps higher or more athletic than him. Almost every team that's good enough to make the playoffs has a secondary go to guy like the ones mentioned above. OG will guard the primary guy i.e. Demar DeRozan, Kawhi Leonard, Luka Doncic, James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo , Jayson Tatum/Jaylen Brown, Jimmy Butler, leaving Vanvleet at some point during the game to take on this secondary guy. Just like last night, when Zach Lavine went off, Vanvleet was taking on him and just did not do squat. In the playoffs that's how the Raptors are going to get killed. Again and again. Heartbreak after heartbreak for the caring, long suffering fans.

In the year they won the championship, Vanvleet was able to guard Steph Curry with the help of a box and one defense but the Warrior was a team without Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant. 2019 was an outlier year because of Kawhi, Lowry, Gasol, Green in addition to Siakam. That was before Vanvleet signed his first big contract. Ever since then, he had spent less time during summer working at a gym with Rico Hines, instead choosing to party with his family at the beach and showed up easily 10 pounds above playing shape at the start of the season.

Vanvleet was well known for betting on himself. He's been good at controlling the opportunities at his team by hogging on to the ball and making all his competition for a slice of the salary pie in the next two seasons, namely Trent Jr. and OG, be at the mercy of his willingness to pass the ball to them on time and in rhythm. Unfortunately these are the team's two other best shooters aside from him. With shooters, timing and rhythm are everything. It's true with his opportunities he will get his numbers, but it seemed he's been betting too much on himself at the expense of the team. Throughout his time in Toronto he has forced the hand of management out of salary cap and tax considerations to choose him over Corey Joseph, Delon Wright, Norm Powell and finally Kyle Lowry. During game one of their series against Cleveland, the team suddenly decided to go to Demar less and had him taking and missing three point shots. Non of these had anything to show in terms of playoffs success.

If the Raptors can get rid of him and in return get someone who can play point guard and is maybe 75% of Jrue Holiday or Marcus Smart, the team will still be better off. If the Raptors can trade him to Miami and get back Lowry, they should do it.