Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet is done proving himself that he belongs to the NBA and he is now focused on taking a step forward and achieving individual accolades and helping his team win more NBA Championships. VanVleet, who went undrafted in the 2016 NBA draft, was given a shot by the Raptors and the rest is history as this offseason the 26-year-old guard made history as he broke the record for the biggest deal signed by an undrafted player.
VanVleet, who has established himself as one of the key players on the Raptors, averaged 17.6 points and 6.6 rebounds for Toronto last season and this offseason the Raptors gave him a four-year, $85 million deal. "All of the individual accolades that you could ever think of -- though I don't really share those publicly because that's not what I'm into -- but I've got a lot on the table that I want to get done," VanVleet said.
"But now I'm just locked in on that next championship. That feeling of winning a championship, it trumps anything I've ever done in my life, in my career. Besides my kids, that's right up there, as far as personal journeys and accomplishments that you can make.
"So trying to chase that next championship, that's what I'm locked in on."
VanVleet will miss playing home games in Toronto
Because of border complications due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Raptors won't be able to play their home games in Toronto as they will at least start the new season doing that from Tampa, Florida.
The Raptors remain hopeful that the situation will improve and that they will be able to return to Toronto at some point of the season. "I think it's less of a sting because we haven't played in front of fans in so long.
But also, once we knew that Toronto was up in the air, as far as us being able to return, I was just happy it was somewhere warm," VanVleet said with a laugh," VanVleet said. "Hopefully we'll spend our time there and doing what we've gotta do and then make our way back to Toronto at some point, obviously respecting all of the COVID guidelines.
Health and safety comes first. So obviously, we miss our fans and we can't wait to get back to them." The Raptors failed to defend their 2019 NBA title as they lost to the Boston Celtics in the NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals this past postseason.