Raptors Guard Fred VanVleet Makes History
Tuesday saw an undrafted guard make his way into the pages of Toronto Raptors and NBA history. Toronto guard Fred VanVleet this week not only set a new Toronto Raptors record with 54 points scored in a single game, but also set a new benchmark for the most points scored in a single game by an undrafted player.
VanVleet’s convincing performance in Toronto’s 123-108 thrashing of the Orlando Magic sees him outdo Hall of Famer Moses Malone’s 53 undrafted player points scored against San Diego in 1982. The Raptors last set a new single-game scoring record back in 2018, when DeMar DeRozan racked up 52 points against Milwaukee on New Year’s Day.
A Word From Nick Nurse
VanVleet’s performance has been nothing short of incredible, said Toronto head coach Nick Nurse after the game. Nurse said the fact that such an incredible achievement had been secured by an undrafted player made it even more impressive. VanVleet is a natural winner, said Nurse, and it’s a winning “pedigree” he’s shown himself capable of bringing to every team he’s ever played for.
But if anyone is deserving of such an incredible achievement, it would have to be VanVleet. The six-foot-one giant is described as hard-working, fearless, and as tough as nails by his fellow Raptors. At only 26, the Toronto guard is thoughtful and full of wisdom and insight. He’s also no stranger to betting on himself, something which came full circle last November when he signed off on a four-year, $85 million deal, which is of course yet another record for an undrafted player.
Winning Was “Easy”
Ever the picture of humility, VanVleet said after the game that the points had come naturally and easy during the 37 minutes he got to spend on the court – with no disrespect intended toward the Magic. The Toronto guard’s previous points-high of his career was pegged at 36, which he secured last year against Miami.
Tuesday’s game was the Raptors’ second meeting in three days. They on the Sunday before finally ended a three-game losing streak when they scored their way to a 115-102 decision in Tampa, a momentum they’ve managed to keep up ever since.
As for VanVleet, he got to celebrate his win celebrity style after several veterans congratulated him on his magnificent performance – including DeMar DeRozan. But the guard says the best thing about his personal victory had been the reactions of his teammates, who he says were even more excited about his record than he was.