Miles: Fred VanVleet's value goes way beyond a stat sheet

On the debut episode of our new Raptors show, "Strictly Hoops with C.J. Miles," the former Raptor provides examples of Fred VanVleet's irreplaceable skillset. The full episode can be listened to on the "Raptors Over Everything" podcast feed or watched on our Yahoo Sports Canada YouTube channel.

Video Transcript

AMIT MANN: And you made the nice pivot for me here, so I'm going to go to Fred VanVleet right now. I want to get your thoughts on this. Because this season, he was asked to take a lesser on ball offensive role. He does still have a role in the offense, and it's integral.

Like, if Pascal is the lead singer, Fred's a producer. Like, he's Timbaland, right, who's making things happen on the back line, although we don't always see these things happening. But he is that guy.

But coming off his first All-Star season, he's getting all kinds of league-wide notoriety as this six-foot point guard, undrafted. Look at his story. He's an inspiration, all that kind of stuff.

And then he comes into this year, and he's told, we're going to make a little bit of a pivot. We're going to have Scottie Barnes have the ball in his hands more. Pascal, his usage is going to come up because he's becoming that guy, a number one option. And yeah, we need less from you statistically. And we just need you to accept this role for us in a contract year.

That's really tough, to me. That's really, really hard for a player to wrap their minds around.

CJ MILES: So one, it speaks to the trust that they have with each other, between Fred and the organization, one thing. Because like you said, in that position, a player going into the space that he's in, coming up an All-Star, being a contract season, that could be-- he could flip a desk over for that.


CJ MILES: You know what I mean? It could go the other way. We've seen it go the other way. It could definitely go the other way. But it speaks on the relationship they have, one.

Two, it also speaks on what they think his truest value is to that team. They don't think it's only just numbers, which is why I don't think it affects when they get to the negotiating table. Because also, winning cures everything.

So him doing what he does, like we talked about last night, his fingerprints on the end of that game--


CJ MILES: --him doing that is his-- his real value right now, his truest value. And then the opportunities will come. They'll go double Pascal in Game 3. And he'll make six 3's that game, you know what I mean?

But right now, like, he's orchestrating, he's defending, which is what I think he does really, really well. And I think people talk about his hands. But I don't think they talk about him really just being a very solid defender on the ball.


CJ MILES: And he takes on a lot of beating with bigger guys thinking they can punk him a little bit. And he doesn't take it.

AMIT MANN: His hands are strong though, bro.

CJ MILES: He's standing--

AMIT MANN: His hands are-- his hands are ridiculous.

CJ MILES: Yes. Quick, strong. He gets his fingers on it, it's popping out of there.


CJ MILES: Like, that's-- and he needs that. That's a strength he had to-- he had to cultivate. But I think he just brings so much to the table besides what I so-- don't want the fans to get caught up in that numbers game we like to play when we watch, where you just stick the stat line where it's like, oh, we've lost five games. Well, Freddie's only averaged 13 through these five games.


CJ MILES: Like, don't-- let's not do that. Like, let's not judge the value-- and that's for anybody, but especially when we're just talking about him right now. So let's not do that and try to say that's the value. Because we like to do that.

We like to watch games, and if we don't catch them, see-- and you've got to throw all these things together to say why things are happening. Well, he's only averaged this, and he missed three 3's in a row that game. Like, those plays are not the grand scheme of things.

AMIT MANN: Is it hard for a player to get around that? I mean, even if the front office is saying that we're going to take care of you-- or even say that he's not actually playing on the Raptors, right? And he doesn't know the culture. He doesn't know the identity. He hasn't been in the organization like that.

Because I think that's what we're talking about. When Fred says himself that I know winning's going to fix everything, that means that-- to me, that means that there's a hush-hush agreement amongst the Raptors and Fred that you take care of us, we're going to take care of you. You do what we're looking for, which we know you know how to do, you're going to be fine. You're going to get your money. You're going to get all kinds of it because you definitely earned it. But--