There are a number of factors as to why the Toronto Raptors are two wins away from their first title in franchise history. Kawhi Leonard has been fantastic, the Raptors defense has been lights out, first handling Giannis and now holding the Warriors to 109 in every game so far, Pascal Siakam is winning his battle against Draymond Green, the Raptors are hitting threes, my point is there are a ton of reasons why they are where they are.
However, few may be more important than the resurgence of Fred VanVleet. To say FVV was struggling to start the playoffs would be a massive understatement. A usually reliable backup guard that holds down the Raptors second unit, this man was down right unplayable for the first half of this playoff run. In his first 15 games he was putting up 4 points a night on 26/19% splits and had a -19.1 net rating. I mean it was hard to be more of a negative through those first two rounds and then the first three games of the MIL series than what VanVleet was.
But then something happened. Following a 1-11 performance in Game 3 against MIL, Fred VanVleet became a father to Fred Jr. Immediately after that magical baby entered the world he did this
A guy that couldn’t throw a pea in the ocean was suddenly the greatest shooter of all time. A combined 14-17 from three to end that MIL series it was the greatest three game shooting stretch from deep in history. Accident? I don’t think so. Now enter the NBA Finals, you think maybe after a layoff he may have come back down to earth. Well, all he’s done in the three games so far is average 14 points a game on 50/33% shooting with 2.0 3PM a night while also playing decent defense on Steph Curry. If you combine his 6 total games since the birth of that super baby he’s averaging 15 points on 57/57% splits with a net rating of +41.6. 41.6!!!! The only loss on their record is mostly due to the fact that they stopped scoring to start the third quarter and end the fourth quarter of Game 2, not exactly his fault.
I can only imagine how cocky that damn baby is right now in the VanVleet household watching these games. He knows he’s the real reason for this resurgence whether his Dad wants to admit it or not. Think what you want but the facts are the facts. Pre baby Fred VanVleet wasn’t even a G-League caliber player this postseason. Post baby, he’s what Steph Curry dreams of being. We’re to believe he just figured something out and broke out of his slump through hard work and film study? Yeah OK sure, what’s next you’re going to tell me Kawhi isn’t a basketball robot?
Pretty rude to just completely throw your son under the bus like that and say he has absolutely nothing to do with it in that interview if you ask me. There’s no shame in being proud that you have magical man juice that produces children that somehow enhance your basketball ability. This is the NBA Finals and you have to do absolutely everything in your power to bring home that title. If the Raptors pull this off and VanVleet continues to play this well, I think the organization should force him to just keep banging and making babies. They showed their commitment to him by offering him that extension, it’s time he return the favor and keep creating super babies.
It’s just a shame that if they do win Kawhi will most likely win the Finals MVP, because everyone with a brain knows the real MVP of that team is a little dude who poops himself 5000 times a day.