On Tuesday, reserves for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game were revealed.
Among the biggest snubs: Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet.
Following Toronto's loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, VanVleet said he was "disappointed" to not get the nod from the league's head coaches but that this isn't going to be the last season he'll be up for an All-Star. He also said he's keeping everything in perspective, knowing there's a lot more going on in the world right now.
"It is what it is," VanVleet responded when asked about his reaction to missing the cut for All-Star. "Obviously, you know, I'm human. I'm disappointed.
"As much as it doesn't matter, it does matter, if that makes sense. I'm not going to lie and say, 'Oh, I don't care.' Obviously, I care. It's something that I want to be a part of someday. But I think just having the proper perspective on it and understanding that I'm not going anywhere, this is not going to be my last year being up for a All-Star. I think I was very close, and all the guys that made it were very deserving. That's the case every year.
"I'll keep getting better and getting myself a better case next year, and go from there. But I don't play for that. I try to play the game the right way. And also, it's too much real s- going on in the world for me to be crying about making the All-Star Game, you know what I'm saying? I didn't want to go anywhere. Let's go with that narrative. I'm going to be salty and be a sore loser. I didn't want to go. How about that?"
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VanVleet certainly had a strong case. While his numbers don't pop in the same way as some of the other players who were up for All-Star, he's still the second-leading scorer (19.8 points per game) and lead playmaker (6.7 assists per game) on a team that currently has the fifth-best record in the Eastern Conference. He's also established himself as one of the best defenders at the guard position, ranking among the league leaders in steals and deflections yet again this season.
As NBA.com's Kyle Irving wrote when breaking down the All-Star reserve candidates:
The Raptors have bounced back in a big way after a bad start to the season, and VanVleet owns a lot of the responsibility for that. The undrafted guard has built a solid All-Star case averaging career highs in points, rebounds and assists while also leading the league in total steals. Setting Toronto's single-game franchise record with 54 points is just another line on VanVleet's All-Star resume. Even if he doesn't earn a bid, his name certainly belongs in this mix.
The fact that VanVleet didn't make the All-Star Game speaks to how much talent there is in the league right now. It was a crowded field this season, but this probably won't be the last time VanVleet is in the mix.
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