Raptors’ Fred VanVleet hopes to be more mindful of his body: ‘I paid the price’

VICTORIA, B.C. — As you would expect from a good team and one of its best players, the Raptors were much better with Fred VanVleet on the field last year than ‘outside. They were better offensively. They were better defensively. They were a better shooting team. They returned the ball less often. It continues.

Still, looking at his play diary from last season, there are some notable exceptions, with a few of those exceptions grabbing you by the collar and driving you closer. In the first two games after the All-Star break, the Raptors dropped 32 and 27 points to Charlotte and Atlanta, respectively. In the nearly 64 minutes VanVleet played in those games, the Raptors were outscored by 70 points. At the offensive end, LaMelo Ball and especially Trae Young roasted VanVleet, who on his best days is one of the best perimeter pick-and-roll defensemen in the league.

“He had me in a blender,” VanVleet said of Young on Wednesday, speaking to The Athletic after his scrum with the media following Day 2 of Raptors training camp. “I lost confidence in my defense the most because I took shots I had never taken before, being marked in a way I had never done.”

Ball and Young are explosive guards who would give defenders the best adjustments under ordinary circumstances. This, for VanVleet, was different. This was the period when VanVleet, as he said Monday in Toronto during his media day press conference, “got a little zoned out in terms of listening to my body.

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