Just two seasons removed from an NBA championship, the Toronto Raptors suffered through their worst regular season since 2012-13 last season - the first campaign under Nick Nurse that the team missed the playoffs.
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A combination of injuries to key guys throughout the season, coupled with playing home games in Tampa due to COVID-19 restrictions, the team had a season they'd all like to forget. Now, based back at home in Toronto, point guard Fred VanVleet is savouring the team's current five-game winning streak following the Raps win over the Wizards to push them to 6-3 on the season.
"I'm not taking it for granted. Did you watch us last year? Yeah, I'm not taking none of this for granted."
Fred VanVleet on the Raptors' 5-game winning streak: "I'm not taking it for granted. Did you watch us last year? Yeah, I'm not taking none of this for granted."- Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) November 4, 2021
VanVleet finished with a season-high 33 points and six assists in a team-high 43 minutes. Now in his sixth season in the NBA, VanVleet has become more of an on-court leader for this Toronto team and is averaging career-highs in assists (7.4) and rebounds (5.5) per game.
He feels like there is something special building up north.
"As a point guard you try to instil that mentality and your personality on the team and it's been easy for me this year," VanVleet says. " We're all on the same page and we go out there and play really hard... We're building trust on a daily basis and you can feel the chemistry growing."
Toronto is managing its current good form without the services of Pascal Siakam, who underwent offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in June. According to reports, Siakam is due back within the next couple of weeks, giving the team more optimism of making a deep playoff run once again.
"We definitely don't get championships in October and November, but it's not a bad place to be, to be playing good and growing as a young team," VanVleet said.
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