In a season that has sent the Toronto Raptors spiraling out of control at times, one of the few bastions of consistency has been shooting guard Fred VanVleet, who has justified every penny of that four-year contract Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster handed him. VanVleet has become a sensation both in Canada and the United States, as American international basketball has an eye on the Raptors guard as they look to get a squad prepared for the Olympics.
Per Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, VanVleet’s name has been added to the 60-player pool from which the United States national team participating in the Tokyo Olympics will be chosen. VanVleet will join teammate Kyle Lowry in the pool.
Fred VanVleet has been a reliable perimeter scorer in what has been a chaotic Toronto Raptors season
VanVleet is currently averaging 19.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, averages that would set new career highs for the former Wichita State star, while totaling 6.4 assists and 1.5 steals per contest. VanVleet came into the season with questions about his potential as a lead perimeter scorer, but he has shut up the doubters by showing that he can indeed be trusted with his increased offensive role, even as center remains a revolving door of disappointment.
VanVleet’s odds of actually making the team are currently unclear. While many top stars often choose not to head to the Olympics as they look to rest up during the summer, the USA’s poor performance in the 2019 FIBA World Cup has several superstars thinking of suiting up for their country. If some of those stars renege on their promises, VanVleet might get to end up on the national team.
While the US will likely be considered the favorites to take home the gold medal, they could be in the market for some clutch shooting, and VanVleet can easily fill that role if some of the superstars choose not to participate. He’s proven that he can hit clutch shots when the chips are down, and that will be a valuable commodity on an international stage.