Fred VanVleet is good despite his slump. The Raptors need him to be great.

Fred VanVleet's slump has been going on for almost a year. What's going on, and what it means for the Raptors.

Fred VanVleet has not been himself for a long time.

To recap, on Feb. 14 of last season, VanVleet injured his knee against the New Orleans Pelicans. From that point forward, he played in only 15 games while sitting for 10. And when he did play, his 3-point shot -- which to that point had been in some ways superior to Steph Curry's -- plummeted. He shot 29.1 percent from deep after connecting on 40.1 percent prior to the injury. He shot 33.3 percent from deep in the playoffs before sitting with injury. And this season, he has connected on 34.8 percent from deep.

We're a few months away from a full calendar year since VanVleet's injury and subsequent shooting slump. It's worth mentioning that VanVleet has a much longer history of success from behind the 3-point arc; before his injury, VanVleet shot 38.8 percent from three over his entire career. That accuracy on almost 2000 attempts is worth much more, as far as predictiveness, then the almost 300 triples he's attempted since. Slumps can last this long. But in combination with injury, it's concerning.

And VanVleet's knee injury against New Orleans last February is far from his only injury. He has a litany of wounds to virtually every component of his body, including those that would affect jumpers. The injuries could be related to Nick Nurse playing him so many minutes -- after virtually guaranteeing in preseason to play him fewer minutes, VanVleet again is in the top 10 in the league for minutes per game. Nurse stressed to media that playing VanVleet less was a priority. It hasn't been. But so too could VanVleet's injures be tied purely to his style of play, which involves an extreme amount of contact on both ends of the floor, despite him being one of the smaller bodies on the court. So many injuries take their toll on bodies. VanVleet would not be the first to see his career betrayed by his body.

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