3. Fred VanVleet
When looking at the Spurs roster, one thing is immediately evident: They lack a facilitator at the point guard position.
Sure, they have Tony Parker, but with his play constantly being limited due to age and injuries, it is highly likely that both Dejounte Murray and Patty Mills will once again eat a boatload of the minutes moving forward. Although both players are capable in their own rights, neither man should be responsible for running the offense on a playoff-calibre team.
Mills — the better passer of the two — finished 47th in assist/turnover ratio last year while Murray ended up 73rd. VanVleet, on the other hand, finished 9th. VanVleet finished the year with 5.8 assists per 36 minutes, a figure higher than both Mills and Murray have ever reached in their careers.
Also driving VanVleet’s value is that he shot 41.4 percent from beyond-the-arc last year, which would have lead the Spurs. He is also a very efficient free throw shooter, making at least 81.8 percent of his attempts in both his seasons in the NBA so far.
Finally, VanVleet has proven himself to be clutch on every level he has played. In college, he played a key role for Wichita State in several tournament appearances. Most recently, fans may remember VanVleet hitting this game-winning shot in overtime against the Pistons:
Where complications arise in the discussion of bringing “Steady Freddy” to San Antonio is within his current expiring contract.
Technically speaking, VanVleet is a restricted free agent, so the Raptors would typically be able to match any offer fellow teams make to the 23-year-old. Since VanVleet went undrafted, however, this means he did not have a team option after his sophomore season. Because of this, the most the Raptors can offer him without going over the cap limit will be a mid-level exception deal, likely totaling just over $8 million
If the Spurs have cap space to acquire VanVleet in free agency for the $9-11 million mark, they may be wise to do so.