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NBA FINALS: WARRIORS VS. RAPTORS

June 4, 2019

Fred VanVleet

Oakland, California - Practice Day

Q. Durant is not going to play in Game 3, but when he does come back, how is that going to affect things for your team?
FRED VANVLEET: It will probably change our defensive coverages and kind of the way we're approaching our schemes. Obviously we know what KD brings to the table, and we'll have to adjust a little bit what we do. But if he's not playing tomorrow, then we'll worry about that after we take care of Game 3. So all of our focus is on Game 3, and we'll worry about whatever comes after that.

Q. You beat them twice during the regular season, and he had big games, but you beat him anyway. So what lessons do you draw from that?
FRED VANVLEET: The regular season doesn't really matter. We knew that we could play with this team, and we know that from obviously not only the regular season but just that we're a great team and neither one of us were playing playoff-level basketball at the time, so you don't really try to take too much from that.

Whenever he comes back, it will be a different look and a different feel, and we'll have to adjust.

Q. Thompson is very iffy for Game 3. How will his uncertainty affect your approach?
FRED VANVLEET: Not at all. We kind of let you guys worry about that type of stuff. As players we respect their entire roster. Quinn Cook's pretty damn good. Obviously Looney went out, that's unfortunate. Shaun Livingston is pretty good. Iguodala is pretty good.

So we're not worrying about who is playing and who is not playing. Whoever team that they put out on the floor is going to be a pretty good team, and it's going to take a full effort from us to go out there and take care of business.

Q. There's so many players in this series somewhere on the continuum between hurt and injured. Obviously you had an experience last year where you were trying to get back. What does -- how much does your calculus change in a risk-reward thing in terms of playing in the playoffs versus playing in the regular season?
FRED VANVLEET: Yeah, I mean, well, hopefully you go through the regular season free of injury for this moment. We all play for this moment. The NBA is set up that way. Everything boils down to the Finals.

So to be in a championship stage, you're going to play through just about anything. And especially if you're in two great organizations like this where more often than not I'm sure the front office appreciates guys laying their bodies on the line and so you're not worrying about long-term stuff like that, unless it's something very, very serious, knees and things like that.

But yeah, if it's not going to cause any long-term effect to shorten your career, you're probably going to be out there playing, and almost everybody has something that they're dealing with, and some worse than others, but nobody's going to feel sorry for you.

Q. Further to that, can you imagine playing five straight Finals and going through what it takes -- I mean, you just went through what it takes to get to one. Can you imagine five in a row?
FRED VANVLEET: I can imagine it, yeah. Hopefully that happens. I can imagine it. I understand what those guys have been through. It's unbelievable. It's nothing to take lightly, and it's a great accomplishment, and just it speaks to their character and their DNA and what makes them who they are that they're able to keep that level of consistency and play at that level of greatness for that long.

So it's tough, it's a long, long year and some of those guys even play USA Basketball in the summer, so it's basketball year-round. And if you really love the game and you got a solid character and solid foundation, it makes it fun and I think they have a ton of guys like that.

Q. What is the biggest toll for you personally? Is it a physical thing to play this long, 82 plus four rounds, is it a mental thing? Is it an emotional thing? What would you say it is?
FRED VANVLEET: Probably a combination of all -- I think at this point it's just physical. You've been playing for a very long time -- mentally you're so locked in and juiced up that you want to just -- I think that just it's a combination of those things. I think mentally you're pretty locked in because it's the Finals, it's what you dream of. This is what you want to do. So you're not drained there. Physically it's just bumps and bruises that you take along the season. But what else would you rather be doing?

Q. With the Finals being seen all over the world, what's it like seeing or how cool is it seeing people from Africa and China cheering on the team, and also traveling to the games?
FRED VANVLEET: It's unbelievable, man. It speaks to our great league that we have and the reach that the League has grown to to show the growth of being a global game. And obviously we appreciate fans from all over the world, and it's just really cool to see how far the game can go and it's going to continue to keep growing. And our game is a global game, and it's trending upwards. So as players we appreciate all of our fans, and it's just been unbelievable.

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