Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet has been selected as a reserve for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game.
He was voted in for the first time in his career by a panel of the NBA’s 30 head coaches.
VanVleet is the eighth player in Raptors franchise history to be named an all-star and just the fourth undrafted player in the NBA's modern era to be selected to the prestigious midseason showcase.
The game will take place on Feb. 20 in Cleveland. A draft will be held on Feb. 10, when VanVleet will learn whether he’ll play for Team Kevin Durant or Team LeBron James. The two superstar forwards were revealed as the top vote-getters in the Eastern and Western Conferences last week and named team captains for the all-star game.
VanVleet, 27, is in the midst of his best season as a pro, averaging career highs in points (21.5), assists (7.0), rebounds (4.7) and minutes played (38.6) per game as he’s helped the Raptors to a 26-23 record.
He is the first Raptor selected to the all-star game since Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry were picked in 2020.
Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said Thursday that he saw echoes of Lowry's game early in VanVleet's career.
“I think in that first year or two, I just saw real similarities to Kyle,” Nurse said. “I said many times, ‘Why can’t he be Kyle Lowry?’ (A player) who was going to the all-star game over and over. I don’t know if I was thinking he was an all-star, but I was seeing a similar player there.”
A native of Rockford, Ill., VanVleet famously went undrafted in 2016, despite enjoying a strong four-year collegiate career at Wichita State. He signed with the Raptors’ Summer League team in 2016 and earned a multi-year contract with Toronto.
In 2019, VanVleet helped the Raptors win the NBA championship.
He signed a reported four-year, US$85-million contract with Toronto in November 2020.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3, 2022.
The Canadian Press