It’s not easy to cut VanVleet’s playing time – Nurse

Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press

VICTORIA — Fred VanVleet wants to try to spare himself a little more this season. Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse says it’s a great idea – in theory.

« When you have a hyper-competitive guy who’s playing super well, and he wants to play, it’s hard to put him aside and say, ‘sorry, it’s time for you to rest… (let the score be), you need a break. »

VanVleet made the All-Star Game for the first time in his career last season.

The Rockford, Illinois athlete set personal bests with 20.3 points, 6.7 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game, on average.

He was, however, on the pitch for a league-high 37.9 minutes per game, deadlocked with teammate Pascal Siakam.

The 28-year-old VanVleet has missed his team’s last three regular season games – as well as games 5 and 6 in the first round against the Sixers with a hip injury.

VanVleet will soon enter the third season of an $85M four-year deal.

The agreement can be extended as of October 17.

Raptors camp began Tuesday at the University of Victoria. The twenty or so players present are healthy – a breath of fresh air for Nurse.

VanVleet missed 17 matches in total last season. The coaches have seen ways to do it when he is not there, but managing his playing time is no more obvious.

« When we’re together in an office, it seems easy to see when to limit your time on the field, » Nurse said. But in a tight match where there is little time left on the clock, you have to see if it’s worth limiting it to 38 minutes instead of, say, 41.

“I am well aware of what it is (with VanVleet). But it can be a tough game abroad, where you win or you lose by a single point. It’s quite different in the heat of the moment. »

The Raptors have several players who can take the ball into the enemy zone; so it’s conceivable that VanVleet would have a bit of a lighter load in that regard, Nurse said.

« We’ve seen Scottie (Barnes), Pascal and probably also OG (Anunoby) develop that side of the game, » Nurse said.

“It can lead to occasions where we try to take advantage of a defense that is not quite installed. It can be passing on to Freddy or Gary (Trent) for a three-point shot.

The Raptors will conclude their camp on Friday, playing an intrasquad game.

They will have a preseason game Sunday in Edmonton against the Utah Jazz.

On October 14, they will be in Montreal to face the Boston Celtics, also in an exhibition game.

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