The 2020-21 NBA season has been riddled with COVID-19 complications, which have resulted in multiple game postponements and players missing significant time due to virus protocols and injury.
"It's certainly ups and downs to this thing, more than I've ever experienced in my life. I mean, to be honest, this is probably the most unpure year of basketball I've ever been a part of," VanVleet said. "Just from the whole league and rushing the season back, it's pretty much all about business this year on every level. And it's hard to hide it now."
VanVleet also believes the league's attempt to salvage financial losses caused by the pandemic has overshadowed much of this season.
"The NBA is a great balance of the pure love and joy of one of the best sports in the world mixed with a billion-dollar industry, and I think this year the industry side is taking precedent over some of the love and the joy," VanVleet said.
The Raptors (23-34) have been severely affected by COVID-19 this season, which began after a 72-day turnaround following the final game of last year's NBA Finals. Multiple players and coaches within the organization, including VanVleet, tested positive for the coronavirus leading up to the All-Star break. The team's also been forced to play its home games in Tampa Bay because of Canada's COVID-19 protocols.
Despite its challenges, VanVleet emphasized he understands that the condensed season will be played out - it's what the players agreed to.
"We did vote on what season we wanted, they gave a few options and most of the players picked this option," VanVleet remarked. "So we're in it, which is why I can't complain about it, but I can point out that this is what it is and the pros and cons that come with that. It's very conflicting."
VanVleet's been productive for the Raptors when healthy this season, averaging 19.5 points, 6.1 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.7 steals in 45 games. The undrafted guard signed a lucrative four-year, $85-million contract this past offseason.