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Fred VanVleet claims Toronto’s bench mob ‘is no more’

For Toronto Raptors backup point guard Fred VanVleet, the North’s so-called bench mob is “no more.”

Per the Toronto Sun‘s, Mike Gunter, the 24-year-old VanVleet believes that the Raptors’ bench which wreaked havoc on teams last year is gone. He admitted that this fact has been a challenge, especially when closing out their foes in the fourth quarter.

“It’s not going to be what last year was,” Fred VanVleet said. “We can admit that. Put that to bed. The bench mob is no more.”

“There have been some (decent) fourth quarters of games, but it has just been a little harder to ratchet it up like we did last year,” VanVleet said. “Last year was the perfect storm and we got to let that go and figure out something else this year.”

In terms of points per game this season, the Raptors’ bench logs in 37.5 a night which ranks 15th in the league. Last season, the Toronto’s bench scored 41.8 points per game for fifth place.

This stark difference is brought about by the different strategy employed by Nick Nurse — who’s manning the team for the first time. Unlike Raptors former (and Detroit Pistons current) head coach Dwane Casey, Nurse wants a uniform lineup, not two distinct units.

While this strategy has resulted in the Toronto having the best record in the league, the point raised by VanVleet and the rest of his teammates is an interesting one. The Raptors, even without a good bench, can rack up win after win. What more if they develop this second to an elite level?