Fred VanVleet likes the Raptors' chances repeating as champs during Orlando restart
The Toronto Raptors have a chance to prove that the greatness of Kawhi Leonard wasn't the sole reason for their title win last season.
The Raptors, a team filled with some of the NBA's most underrated players, are ranked second in the East behind the Milwaukee Bucks heading into the league's restart.
Fred VanVleet, who has had a good season, is arguably their third-best player behind Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry. VanVleet voiced confidence in his team on a video conference call Monday with reporters.
The NBA is slated to resume its season July 30 at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
"I think we have a really, really good chance and we're going to be a tough team for anybody to beat four times," VanVleet said, according to Josh Lewenberg of The Sports Network.
VanVleet isn't just spewing run-of-the-mill hype here. As the reigning champs, the Raptors are only missing Leonard and Danny Green as two key players.
Though the Raptors needed both of those players to win, a key factor in their title run was their defensive versatility.
Both VanVleet and Lowry can defend well, and Siakam is one of the best defensive forwards in the league. Serge Ibaka, a two-time block champion and three-time All-Defensive team member, has made a career on playing quality defense.
This season, the Raptors' defense hasn't wavered. According to NBA.com stats, the Raptors rank second in opponent field goal percentage (42.9%) and first in opponent 3-point percentage (33.7%).
On top of their defense, though, the Raptors have maintained their offensive production. According to NBA.com stats, the Raptors rank 12th in points per game (113.0) and sixth in 3-point percentage (37.1%).
A four-year guard, VanVleet has been a key part of the Raptors continuing to be effective on offense.
He is averaging a career-high 17.6 points per game, dishing a career-high 6.6 assists and shooting 38.8% from the 3-point line.