Point guard of the future.
That’s what Bryan Colangelo dubbed Kyle Lowry when he brought him in for that future first round pick. If you asked the fanbase right now, the majority would likely say the deal wasn’t worth it. What people don’t understand is how poorly Lowry has been used, and how good he really is.
Lowry is the Toronto Raptors‘ best player, and a borderline top 10 point guard in this league. Injuries, as well as Dwane Casey‘s system has really crippled Lowry this season.
A stat-line of 14-6-4 isn’t something to be ashamed of, but when you’re a top defensive point guard that’s as electric as Lowry, the expectation isn’t just to put up passive numbers at the point, it’s to lead the team in multiple categories.
What exactly is the reason for Lowry’s mediocre tenure thus far? To start, it’s the reliance of the pick and roll used by Casey. Lowry rarely see’s isolation plays; a scenario he thrives in. Rather, he gets a screen set for him and goes around it, which can create problems for other teams, but even John Lucas III can run that.
The only time Lowry really seems to create for himself now is when the clock is down to about 5, and he’s forced to make magic happen. It’s likely that during the losing streak, Casey told Lowry to stop taking so many shots. In other words, he told Lowry to stop playing his game. Since his return from injury, Lowry’s field goal’s per game have been significantly down, and while the Raptors were hot for a while, they have really cooled down. This isn’t Lowry’s game, and with the exception of last night, he’s playing his worst basketball of the season.
People blaming Lowry for early failure this season are delusional. The simple fact is that Casey went back to his roots: playing defense and creative offense from defense, which is a proven formula. However, at this moment in time, especially with the the schedule toughening up, Lowry has to start.
It’s no secret that Casey loves Jose Calderon. A high character guy who runs the offense safely and efficiently is certainly someone valuable to keep on the team. However, with Calderon’s defensive woes and lack of ability to create for himself makes him a fantastic back-up, not a viable starter.
It’s likely that Casey will realize soon enough that Lowry starting will be the best thing for this team. If the Raps want their playoff shot, they will need to take down some good teams along the way by playing their best basketball, and frankly, that only happens when Lowry is on the floor and has the freedom to create.
Credit Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports for the photo