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Raptors’ Fred VanVleet thinks he can replace Kawhi Leonard — on the marketing side

Kawhi Leonard, Fred VanVleet, Raptors

The Toronto Raptors will begin the defense of their championship this season without Kawhi Leonard, who decided to join the Los Angeles Clippers as a free agent. Every member of the team’s roster is confident that they can repeat without him, including Fred VanVleet who believes he can replace the reigning Finals MVP.

Well, at least on the marketing side of things.

“There’s a vacuum for a new face people and brands can get behind,” VanVleet said pertaining to Leonard and the marketing opportunities in Toronto. “I think I can be one of those guys … I’ve grown every year as a guy brands want to work with.”

VanVleet had an impressive showing for the Raptors last season, especially in their NBA Finals series against the Golden State Warriors. He knocked down big shot after big shot and helped stabilize the team’s offense while the starters were resting.

This 2019-20 campaign, he and Pascal Siakam are expected to have even bigger roles for Toronto.

VanVleet finished 2018-19 with averages of 11.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and 4.8 assists. He also shot the ball well from behind the arc with close to 38 percent clip.

After being undrafted back in 2016, VanVleet has shown that he can become a great point guard in the NBA. If he continues to improve this season, he might just be able to become one of the faces of the Raptors, which will most likely help him secure sponsorship deals.

VanVleet will never be as good as Leonard, but his confidence about what he can do both on and off the court is something that will definitely help him in his career.

As long as he can back everything that he says, he’ll be great for the Raptors.