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Fan Duel Toronto Raptors

Gameday: Raptors @ Rockets, February 2

A Top-10 player in Raptors history faces his old team for the first time.

One time Freddy All-Star suits up against the team that gave him his first NBA opportunity.

VanVleet is one of the Raptors biggest success stories. FVV rose from being undrafted, to a key rotation player on a championship team, then joining the short list of undrafted players to make an All-Star team in 2022. He still owns the Raptor single-game record of 54 points, one of the lone bright spots in a lost Tampa season. VanVleet also has the only 20 assist game in franchise history.

Fred carried his trademark “Bet on Yourself” phrase to heights nobody except him anticipated. He earned over $82 million in salary in seven years as a Raptor before signing a 3-year, $129 million contract with the Rockets in July. He’s averaging 16.8 points and 8.4 assists (6th in NBA) this season, shooting over 37 percent from three.

VanVleet’s final year and a half was tough. After carrying the Raptors while Pascal Siakam recovered from a torn labrum (validating his 2022 All-Star nod), VanVleet broke down. He wasn’t himself during the playoffs, and then the vibes team wide were horrible last season.

Michael Grange wrote a feature on Fred’s time in Toronto, and thought process behind the move to Houston.

At the end of the day, VanVleet is a top 10 Raptor. Wherever he falls in the tier behind Lowry/Carter/Siakam/Leonard/DeRozan/Bosh is subjective. But he’s there.

Toronto hosts Houston a week from now, where he will definitely get a tribute video and well deserved ovation from fans.

Raptors scope: 17-30, 12th in East | Offensive Rating: 18th (114.7) | Defensive Rating: 20th (116.6)

The Raptors split their first two games of this road trip in very entertaining and hard fought contests. Jordan Nwora has burst onto the scene as an effective scorer and Gary Trent Jr. shot over 50 percent from three in January. Three-fifths of the starting lineup is still in question but with Nwora’s emergence and Gary’s hot streak, the Raptors have numerous scoring options when fully healthy.

Scottie Barnes was snubbed (predictably) from being an All-Star reserve last night. Julius Randle and Joel Embiid will have to be replaced by Adam Silver. Does Scottie get the nod that way like Pascal did last year? Trae Young, Kristaps Porzingis, Derrick White and his old teammate Siakam (especially with the game in Indiana) also have cases.

Sidenote: With another 25-plus assist game, the Raptors will have the longest streak in NBA history. They are currently tied with the 1985 Lakers with 30 in a row.

Rockets scope: 22-25, 11th in West | Offensive Rating: 21st (113.4) | Defensive Rating: 7th (112.4)

Houston has been feisty all season under Ime Udoka, holding onto or flirting with a playoff/play-in spot all season. The Rockets only trail Utah by a half game for the 10th seed.

The Rockets entire regular starting lineup averages over 13 points per game, led by Alperen Sengun (21.7 ppg/9.2 rpg/5.1 apg). Sengun is just 21 years old and should be a future All-Star, but is a question mark for this game. Jalen Green (18.4 ppg) can be explosive. Dillon Brooks (13.9 ppg) has bounced back after being scapegoated in Memphis. If RJ Barrett plays, that Canadian battle will be fun. Jabari Smith (13.4 ppg) was the third overall pick in the 2022 draft and rounds out the five. Houston also features rookies Amen Thompson and Cam Whitmore off the bench.

Game Info

Tip-Off: 8pm EST | TV: Sportsnet 1 | Radio: TSN Radio 1050

Raptors Lineup

Jakob Poeltl (ankle) and Immanuel Quickley (quad) practiced yesterday and are questionable. RJ Barrett (knee) is also questionable. Jontay Porter (back) is doubtful. Javon Freeman-Liberty, Markquis Nowell and Kira Lewis Jr. are with the 905. Otto Porter Jr. isn’t on the injury report, but hasn’t played in 2024.

PG: Scottie Barnes, Dennis Schroder

SG: Gary Trent Jr, Gradey Dick

SF: RJ Barrett, Jordan Nwora, Jalen McDaniels, Otto Porter Jr, Garrett Temple

PF: Bruce Brown, Chris Boucher

C: Thaddeus Young

Rockets Lineup

Alperen Sengun (illness) is questionable. Tari Eason (leg) hasn’t played in a month. Steven Adams (knee), was just traded to Houston for Victor Oladipo and three second round picks. Neither player is expected to play this season.

PG: Fred VanVleet, Aaron Holiday

SG: Jalen Green, Amen Thompson, Nate Hinton, Reggie Bullock Jr.

SF: Dillon Brooks, Cam Whitmore, JaeSean Tate, Jermaine Samuels Jr.

PF: Jabari Smith Jr, Jeff Green

C: Alperen Sengun, Jock Landale, Boban Marjanovic