Going into this season, many people had the Toronto Raptors as an afterthought. Many people thought they weren’t going to win that many games as they no longer had Demar Derozan or Kawhi Leonard. They had lost their stars and they were a lower-seeded playoff team at best.
But, so far the Raptors have been on a tear. They currently are sitting at second place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 8-3 and have beat many established teams to get to that record.
Their number one option has been no surprise, as Pascal Siakam may just end up playing his way into MVP talks if the Raptors continue to play like this. But their second best player so far this season has come at a bit of a surprise, as Fred VanVleet has emerged as one of the brightest young guards in the NBA through the Raptors first 11 games.
VanVleet is averaging a total of 17 points. 4 rebounds, and over 7 assists per game this season, thanks in huge part to Kyle Lowry going down with an injury. He’s above his career average in PER with a current PER of 15.5, and has already dropped 30 points multiple times this season. He has provided a major spark in the starting 5 for Toronto, and they have needed it too.
Siakam is averaging 27.2 points so far, to go along with 9.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and a PER of 21.8. He has also upped his 3-point shooting as he is now making over 2 3-pointers a night on average. He is proving to be one of the most unstoppable players when driving to the hoop, and is improving his game to the point where he is a threat from all 3 levels of the basketball court.
With their new duo of Lowry and Siakam, that could potentially make Kyle Lowry expandable, and you could get some valuable pieces in return for him. Do I think the Raptors trade Lowry? No, of course not. But they could potentially pull the trigger if they see VanVleet as a better option going forward.
Looking into the future, both players are only 25 years old, which means they haven’t even entered their primes yet. If they both stay in Toronto, they could easily grow some tremendous chemistry and lead Toronto to another title if they are surrounded by the right pieces.
Overall, both Siakam and VanVleet are very impressive players this season, and I am very excited to see what they can bring to the table as the season continues for Toronto.