Fred VanVleet cites confidence, praises teammates after career night vs. Jazz

"I'm going to be honest, I always think I'm the best player in the gym. Sometimes I'm right, sometimes I'm wrong," Fred VanVleet said following his absolutely ridiculous game versus Utah on Friday. Follow our Raptors coverage all season long on Yahoo Sports Canada.

Video Transcript


- Looks like in that third quarter, like, [INAUDIBLE] to me. It was you were trying to get something going. [INAUDIBLE]. What happened after those first [INAUDIBLE] sessions.

FRED VANVLEET: I really thought it was a defense, to be honest with you, just picking up a full court, trying to generate some aggressiveness. I mean, they came out and punched us right in the mouth. Give those guys credit, and then it was kind of-- it got out of control there. So just trying to get the reins on it a little bit, and I thought we were able to do that. We made a run. They made a run back, but it started to feel better, and you just got to stick with it. It's a long, long game, and we've been on both sides of those type of games, and that's where some experience just kind of wins out in the end.

I don't know. That's a good question. I don't know. I was just trying to get the win, honestly. I wasn't really thinking about it. By the time I checked in in the fourth there, we were kind of in control. So I didn't have much time to think about it, but yeah, just trying to get the win, and you know, dead tired, playing both sides, just making plays. And we were able to get our control on the game as a team in the second half.

- I was going to say, where did you find the energy at the end of that third quarter? It looked like you were pretty gassed.

FRED VANVLEET: I didn't have any, but you know, you just keep going, just being aggressive. Again, trying to got a win by any means possible. I was thinking about-- it's going to be a long 36, 48 hours, whatever, until Sunday if we dropped that one. So again, you can't control what the other team does. You just to respect the game. I thought we didn't do that in the first quarter, and we were fighting uphill after that, but I was proud of the way that we responded overall as a team.

- How much is in your head about-- you know, you look down there, and it's like, your top seven guys aren't there. It's like two guys who just signed end of the bench guys. Is that going through your head? Like, is that kind of-- is that [INAUDIBLE] at that point?

FRED VANVLEET: Not really. I mean, we didn't really find out until the last minute, to be honest with you. But again, there's no excuses. There's no bums in the NBA. I don't care where they're from, or who-- you know, that's a championship contending team. And so some of those guys don't play because of that. Those are real NBA players. Those guys can play, and we just didn't answer the bell early for the first however many minutes, and then it was hard to get it back after that.

They had the momentum, and we didn't make shots for a long stretch of time. So again, give those guys credit, man. They played their butts off, but I was happy with the way we stayed together. We had some uncomfortable conversations a couple of times, but we came out on the other side of it, and we were able to come out with the win.

- You say there was an uncomfortable conversation. Was there ever any panic?


- Panic.

FRED VANVLEET: No, no, no, no panic, but sometimes, you got to call a spade a spade, and we definitely did that with each other. And again, we responded. That's where your chemistry wins out over time, and we've been in these situations before. So just happy that we come out with the win. Nothing else really matters. And I don't care who's coming in to play. We got to go out, leash them up, and try to get it done.

- When was your last triple double?

FRED VANVLEET: I don't know. That's a good question. I don't even know if I had one. I don't know. You probably can look it up faster than I can. I don't know. College maybe. Maybe not.

- High school?

FRED VANVLEET: I don't really know. I didn't go to one of those high schools where we had a bunch of stats and all that kind of stuff. Like, yeah, we were we were just slugging it out, trying to get wins, my coach was not-- my high school coach was not a big stat guy, nor was I at the time. It was about getting a W, and that was really the only thing that mattered.

- Have you spoken to Kyle? He tweeted and said, it's about time.

FRED VANVLEET: Yeah, yeah, I was texting him. I was texting. We had a good back and forth. But again, a shout out to Kyle. I got to learn from one of the best at getting triple doubles. So I don't know if he ever had 37 while getting one. Maybe I got that on him, but he's got-- he's got quite a few of them. So it's going to be harder to track them down.

- That even outside of the triple double, chasing triple double which Kyle obviously very good at. You've seen him so many times over the years build you guys to that way that you mentioned it earlier. Just doing whatever it took in that moment to get that win. How much of that sort of approach and mindset have you picked up from him over the years?

FRED VANVLEET: Yeah, you just got to learn when to apply. You know what I mean? And sometimes, it's-- think what you like. I'm going to be honest. I always think I'm the best player in the gym, and sometimes, I'm right, and sometimes, I'm wrong. And sometimes, you can show it, and sometimes, you don't. So that's just the way I approach the game. And you have to enforce that will, and oppose your will in the game. And again, I was more proud of the defensive plays that were made in the third to give us that spark. In the offense, that is what it is. It'll come and go, but just able to find my rhythm. My teammates set good screens, and found me in good spots.

- Were you limping on your way in here? How is-- how are your legs?


- [INAUDIBLE] I have to ask this last time. I asked you about your shoes and you said it was superstition and you said also was better on TV. We switched up three times.

FRED VANVLEET: There are time to time. Third time the charm. I found some buckets in some of them, so I swapped out. I didn't feel great about the goal ones to be honest. But you know, it took me three pairs, but I figured it out.


FRED VANVLEET: Yeah, whatever it takes. I left a pair of tights in the locker room a couple of-- I got so many pads and things on. So I definitely went out there a little bit lighter, put the white shoes on, and figured it out.

- [INAUDIBLE] that you could get big-score numbers. [INAUDIBLE].

FRED VANVLEET: I mean, listen. I don't know. I told you guys I feel like I can get those shots whenever I feel like it. Again, I don't know if they're always going to go in. I shoot them to make them. I work on my game. I think there's a chemistry thing, and there's a rhythm to the offense. Again, I was speaking with-- I'm proud of the fact that we have five guys averaging over 15. You know what I mean?

That speaks to the way that we play the game. We could probably use a little bit more off the bench. That'll come as those guys get more reps, but if I can continue to do it within the flow of the team and keep the chemistry and keep everybody happy, I'll do it. But other than that, again, whatever it takes to win, and that's my main focus is winning games for this team.

- I know it's only been like whatever it is 30, 40 minutes but outside of Kyle's or anyone else that you've heard from.

FRED VANVLEET: I'm not going to lie. I haven't looked too hard on my phone. It's always crazy after nights like this. Nobody usually texts me when we lose though. It's funny, or when I play bad, but it's funny. I'll get to it. You know, but I usually keep a tight circle so we'll see.

- One question for you online. [INAUDIBLE].

- Hey, Fred. Great game tonight. You've talked about putting in the work in the off season to be physically ready for the demands of the season and whatever defenses might throw at you. How much does that work help you to stay mentally locked in? Third game in four nights. You guys are flat. There's no crowd to get you going. How much does that help to stay like mentally locked in?

FRED VANVLEET: Oh, that's the biggest part, to be honest with you, is that you're prepared. You're prepared for any situation. I have to give credit to my trainer, which is my brother, JD Danforth. My strength and conditioning coach, Matt [INAUDIBLE] back in Rockford. And we worked-- we worked all summer for this. These type of moments and just being prepared, and it's not always called upon. But you've got to be prepared for those moments.

We have a great staff here who I work with daily to continue to and-- continue to get better. And that's my main focus is just to continue to grow and get better as a player and as a teammate. And there's nothing really I haven't seen. So I have to keep repping and finding creative ways as the defense continues to change and coverages change on me. I got to continue to adapt and adjust. So I'll go back to work tomorrow, work on some things, and try to get another W on Sunday.

- Have you ever scored that many points in a row like that?

FRED VANVLEET: Not at this level, I don't think. But in my life, yeah, I'm sure somewhere, church league or something. You know, way back when. But I think that was the first in the NBA, so we'll take it.

- Thanks, Fred.


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