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Fred VanVleet: ‘I’m not playing any minutes I don’t want to play’

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Toronto guard Fred VanVleet discussed how the Raptors are able to have success running their offence out of post-ups despite not having a traditional post presence. He also made it clear that the heavy minutes he’s playing are not all coach Nick Nurse’s doing, and that he’s happy to shoulder a big load.

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Video Transcript

- OK, let's start with Eric Koreen. Go ahead Eric.

ERIC KOREEN: Hey, Fred. Uh, both as a screener and just in the post, Scotty obviously found and you found him for a lot of offensive opportunities tonight. What do you look for in a screener and particularly a guy like him who has that finishing ability. What do you-- how does that chemistry come along?

FRED VANVLEET: Oh, yeah. You just got to hit the guy. I mean, it's not really that complicated. You, as screener, you hit the guy, you roll, you open up. I thought he was aggressive. It was a physical tonight. He was assertive from the jump. You know, you had a couple of miscues. Early, I think Coach took them out got them right back in. So he was pretty locked in tonight. And you know, obviously, when he's got a high-high ceiling and very talented young player, and any time, he's got it going like that. He just trying to get him the ball, in his spots, and he was getting good seals against guys. He had a good match-up against him. He was jump hooking him to death tonight, so it was good. He had a lot of friendly roles, some and ones. And he just was a force in the paint tonight.

ERIC KOREEN: Thanks, Fred. Safe [INAUDIBLE].


- Thanks, Eric. Go ahead Doug Smith.

- Hey, Fred. Congratulations on the win. We're just talking to Nick about your end half court, you guys seem to run a lot of offense out of post UPS, which is odd since you don't really have a post UPS guy. I just wonder how that works for you guys. Why it works seems so well?

FRED VANVLEET: Well I think we do have some post UPS guys, just maybe not like traditional--

- Oh, Yeah.

FRED VANVLEET: --size bigs. I think OG is pretty good in the post. Pascal is obviously really good in the post guy. He's learning, and he's getting better down there.

And you know, there's never really like five good defenders on the court for most teams, so you could kind of try to find your matchups or size advantages, and we play small without a big, so sometimes they're switching a lot. And we just try to find certain match UPS where we feel like we have an advantage in the paint. And it's just a high percentage shot.

All of those guys can pass as well, so if the defense tries a double whatever we can kick out of it. And it's just a safe way to try to get a high quality shot, you know, just being closer to the rim, and we've had some success there. It doesn't always work, but tonight, we had some success in the paint.

- Great. Thanks very much [INAUDIBLE].


- Thank you. Go ahead Michael Grange.

- Hey, Fred. Nice game. What are some of the advantages of knowing that you're probably going to be on the floor 38, 40 minutes, and the guys you're going to be playing with are going to be on, you know, it's going to be a pretty tight rotation and a lot of familiar faces for most of those minutes. How does that help?

FRED VANVLEET: I think we're just getting more and more comfortable with each other as the season goes on. It's a pretty tight rotation, so we're growing and learning each other. There's a lot of room for ups and downs, and you know, this is the NBA guys, get thirsty in different times, and you kind of can wait it out when you're playing more minutes versus having a short stint.

You might not touch, um, get as many touches as you like, may get frustrated, but when you're out there, you know, 40 minutes, you can kind of let the game come to you a little bit more and pick your spots, so it's just that's probably the biggest advantage other than that, just more opportunity, and you know you have your best players out there for the majority of the game, and we've been handling it pretty well so far.

- And off days and stuff, how are you guys managing him? I mean you look pretty fresh out there most of the time today after having game the other night.

FRED VANVLEET: Yeah, you just take try to take care of your body around the clock. I mean, I tried to stay away from this subject just because it's become such a big deal in the past, have many days. But again, like I will remind everybody, I'm going to speak for myself.

I'm a grown man, and I have two kids at home, and I listen to them, and I listen to my lady, and other than that, like I come to work every day. If I didn't want to be out there, I wouldn't be. No, I'm not playing any minutes that I don't want to play. Coach Nurse is not forcing anybody to play that doesn't want to play, and we sign up for this.

And we got high character guys, competitive guys that like to be out there. Whatever comes with that comes with that, we've all accepted that, and it is what it is. So I wouldn't like put all of that on him. I think some of it is on us as players as well, like we enjoy the challenge of being out there and what comes with that.

- Sounds like pro sports.


- Thank you. Go ahead Josh Lenaburg.

- Hey, Fred. Um, as much as Gary brings offensively at a pretty big impact on the game defensively tonight as well, after missing him for six games, where do you notice his impact most on the floor tonight?

FRED VANVLEET: Man, he was just competing. He was just competing at a high level. His motor was gone.

He looked excited. He was excited to be back. He was flying around, and he looked fresh.

Um, obviously can make big shots at any given time. He was locked in defensively. And you just need that guy, so it's good for me to have another guard out there at times, somebody who can know do multiple things on the offensive end and also guard some of the better guys he have built some. He had some. [INAUDIBLE] some, so I just love this compete level tonight. He was locked in and playing really hard.

- Thanks, Fred. Safe flight back.


- Thanks very much. Go ahead Rich.

- Hey, Fred. You guys have a big lead there in the fourth quarter. What you did do to get back, and how were you guys able to hold on?

FRED VANVLEET: As the NBA miss, a game of runs, I thought that we had some in and outs, we had a couple of possessions, a couple of turnovers. They got out in transition. They scored a bunch.

Naturally, you know, the momentum kind of swings a little bit. They get super aggressive, get some whistles, get some things going their way. They made some shots. Bradley Beal is one of the toughest covers in the NBA, especially in the fourth quarter.

We've seen him get hot in the fourth too many times, so they're a tough team, and they play really hard, and they never give up. And that's all that was, but we were able to make enough plays late to sneak out a couple more buckets and just hold on for the victory.

- Thanks very much, Rich. Last question for you Fred comes from Aaron Rose.

- Hey, Fred. I'm not sure if Norm will be here. He's out for personal reasons, but if he does come-- excuse me. Will it be weird to see him in Toronto on not wearing the Raptors uniform?

FRED VANVLEET: No, not really. Obviously, we played against them a few times, so it's a little bit behind us, but yeah. Yeah, it's bittersweet, man, because you want these guys to come back and get the reception in front of the fans that everybody is looking for.

So you know, obviously, Norm is out for personal reasons and will respect his privacy, but if he does miss the game, I wouldn't be mad at him, especially given the fact that we need these guys to come back to a warm welcome for a packed house. And whatever that may be, I think that's the proper welcome back for any of our guys.

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