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Is Fred Vanvleet Really That Much Better Than Delon Wright?

August 11, 2018

   Fred Vanvleet, or Steady Freddy as Raptors long-time play-by-play guys Jack Armstrong and Matt Devlin like to call him, is being hailed by many as "starting material" or a "shoo-in for the 2018-'19 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award", while fellow Raptors "Bench Mob" member Delon Wright is going unnoticed by many.

   Now, aside from playing the same position, these two young point guards differ greatly in their respective playing styles and approaches to the game. Vanvleet is a Lowry-like player, in that he's short, (he's listed at 6' tall, but that might be a bit of a stretch) stocky, and has the heart of a bulldog, an absolute fighter. He's an excellent spot-up shooter, draining more than 40% of his shots from beyond the arc, but the real beauty of his game, something that really reflects his fight, his "Kyle Lowry-ness" is when he drives the hoop and throw up lay-ups against guys a full foot taller than him and somehow, someway, a good percentage of these shots either go through the hoop, or he draws a foul. Defensively speaking, it's just more of the same from Freddy. He works his tail off, defending against guys who are often  three or more inches taller than him.

   Delon Wright could be said to be the complete opposite. While it's clear that he works hard on and off the court as well, everything has come easier to him than it has to Vanvleet. Delon is a long 6'5", and is leaps and bounds ahead of Vanvleet in the athleticism department. That being said, he is also stellar on defense, just in a different way. Firstly, he's more versatile, being able to guard any player on the court from the 1-3 spots in a small-ball lineup. On top of his versatility, I can see him really thinking, seeing the whole court, and anticipating each move before it's made, before he puts his athleticism and his length to work and gets a steal, picks off a pass, blocks a shot. On the offensive end, he's not quite the three-point shooter that Vanvleet is, shooting just 36.6% of his attempts from deep, but he's got a much higher field goal percentage, having that extra height to lean on when he's putting up lay-ups inside with the big men. 

   So, while I can't definitively say that Delon Wright brings more to the table than Fred Vanvleet, especially considering Vanvleet's slightly higher plus-minus and player efficiency rating, their stats are more or less identical. So again, I'm not saying that Delon Wright is a better player than Fred Vanvleet, and I'm not saying that Vanvleet should get less recognition. All I'm saying is maybe Wright deserves a little bit more credit than he's currently getting.

 

*all stats courtesy of espn.com

 

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