Among the likes of Lou Williams, Eric Gordon, and Jordan Clarkson, Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey had an oddball pick worthy of consideration for the Sixth Man of the Year award — Fred Van Vleet.

The second-year Wichita State product has gone from last in the point guard depth chart to a vital component of the machine the Raptors have built this season. The seasoned head coach was asked if Van Vleet's name should be floating in the conversation.

“Totally. Just like I was upset he didn't make the Rising Stars [Game]. I'm still upset about that. Fred VanVleet is one of the great stories in our league,” he said, according to TSN's Josh Lewenberg. “I'm probably being his agent right now a little bit, Masai probably won't like that, but his story is unbelievable.”

A 6-foot point guard with a sturdy build and shot-making ability, Van Vleet benefitted from Cory Joseph's departure to the Indiana Pacers in the offseason, allowing him to fight for some minutes in the rotation.

The 24-year-old didn't disappoint, becoming a steady backup for All-Star Kyle Lowry and a key contributor of a bench unit that has made all the difference for the top team in the Eastern Conference.

“To go from undrafted, nobody else wanted [him]. But from his standpoint he picked a spot that he saw he could come [in] and make a difference,” said Casey. “He chose us, he had other offers and our management had the foresight to see that this young man had something we're looking for, that toughness. Like I've always said, I see a young Kyle Lowry in Fred VanVleet, as far as his level of play, his toughness, his basketball IQ. And so he should be [in the conversation for Sixth Man of the Year]. His second year in the league and leading the team at the top of the conference, putting up the numbers he's putting up to help us win. He should be in a lot of conversations.”

Van Vleet's averages of 8.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game won't floor anyone, but his name will surely ring familiar to executives watching the game and the impact he has as this team's spark plug.