The Toronto Raptors have a thief in their midst.
It was a little strange to Raptors coach Nick Nurse when he looked over at Fred VanVleet pre-game and saw him dawning the typical assistant coaches' attire. Had anyone given VanVleet the uniform? Nope.
"It was stolen!" Nurse joked.
That was far from the end of VanVeet's coaching antics. With the uniform on, VanVleet snuck into the coaching staff's halftime meeting, Nurse said.
"He’s interested, that’s the big thing," Nurse said. "It’s good that he’s engaged, he’s doing as much as he can physically as well on the court as well. He’s there when he’s not available but he’s still very near the court helping guys and he was coaching very hard with Malachi tonight so that was good."
VanVleet's routine didn't really change much being sidelined with injuries, rookie Jalen Harris said. When he's on the court he's basically an assistant coach trying to make sure everyone is in the right spot and running the sets properly. So his shift to the sideline is pretty natural. He's very energetic on the sideline, Harris said.
"I’d say Fred would be a good coach," Harris said. "Maybe one of the more intense coaches, though."
That jives with Kyle Lowry's assessment from late February when he discussed the possibility of coaching Toronto as a player coach alongside VanVleet. Lowry said he thought he'd be a better head coach because VanVleet is a little too angry and aggressive.
"I'm older now, and I can control a little bit better," Lowry joked. "Freddie would definitely be my first assistant though because we think of alike."