We’re going to handle preseason player profiles differently this year on RaptorBlog. For each player on the 2012-13 Raptors’ active roster, Joseph Casciaro and I are going to email our thoughts back and forth and then post the resulting conversation on the blog. It’s an edgy new form of journalism! Or something…

Kyle Lowry, PG, 6’0″, 205 lbs.
2011-12 stats: 47 games, 32.1 MPG, 14.3 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 6.6 APG, 0.3 BPG, 1.6 SPG, .409 FG%, .374 3P%, .864 FT%, 18.9 PER

Scott: I know that Bryan Colangelo’s track record as General Manager of the Raptors has been checkered, at best, but I feel that his acquisition of Kyle Lowry in July has the potential to be his best move since he took the job six years ago. I love his all-around game at the position, particularly his defense and the fact that he grabbed 4.6 rebounds per game last season even though he’s only six feet tall. Lowry is joining the Raptors coming off his best season in the NBA, as he’s entering his prime years at the age of 26. It almost seems too good to be true.

Actually, it might be too good to be true because his health record in the NBA hasn’t exactly been robust — he missed 14 games in 2009-10, seven games in 2010-11 and 19 games last season. This actually makes the case for keeping Jose Calderon around as a solid backup because it seems inevitable that Lowry is going to miss some games every season because of his hard-charging playing style. That same playing style will almost inevitably make him a fan favorite in Toronto. I predict that Kyle Lowry jersey sightings are going to rise sharply shortly after the season begins.

Joseph: I’m pretty sure new jerseys are now available, and fully expect Lowry and Valanciunas merchandise to fly. I still think hiring Dwane Casey will go down as Colangelo’s best move, but nabbing Lowry at the price BC got was outstanding. As I’ve been saying all summer, if the Raptors end up giving up a top-five pick in the deal, I can understand how it will become tough to swallow for fans. But other than that, you’re not necessarily going to get a player of Lowry’s caliber and work ethic in the lottery, and if the deal ends up as Forbes plus a later lottery pick for Lowry, it’s a goddamn steal in my eyes.

What excites me the most about Lowry, as you mentioned is that at 26, he’s just entering the usual prime of a point guard’s career, and he was already good enough to be justifiably handed the “point guard of the future” mantle for this franchise. He attacks the basket with ferocity, seems to know when to take it all the way and when to dish it off, draws fouls, sets teammates up, and is easily one of the best defenders and rebounders at his position right now.

He’s in the conversation of top-10 point guards in a golden era of point guards, which says something. The only thing holding him back from being a truly elite player is that he’s undersized, but by the sounds of it, his intense work ethic and drive make up for it.

Staying healthy is a concern, though much of his missed time last season was due to an infection, not a major injury. If Lowry can provide his full value for even 70 games per season, I think the Raptors will be fine.

Scott: Lowry’s contract is another thing to love about him — he’s only getting paid $12 million over the next two seasons. Outside of players on their rookie contracts, it doesn’t get much better than that in terms of value in the NBA. He’ll probably be looking for “Calderon money” on his next deal, at the very least.

I’m trying to find something to nitpick about Kyle Lowry and… I’ve got nothing. I loved this acquisition. He reportedly has a history of getting in his teammates’ faces at times, so I’ll be very interested to see how guys like DeRozan and Bargnani respond to that. I think the concept and importance of leadership is blown at of proportion at times, but it seems pretty likely that Lowry will quickly emerge as the so-called “leader” of this team.

Joseph: Whether he ends up having the best season on the team or not (I suspect he or Bargnani will), without a doubt, he’ll be the leader of this Raptors squad. As I mentioned last night on twitter, I don’t think the Raptors have had a true alpha personality since Charles Oakley (Carter and Bosh were alphas in skill only, not by personality) a decade ago. And I don’t think the team has ever had that true leader of the pack personality in arguably its best player, so I think Raptors fans are in for a treat this season assuming Lowry stays healthy.

My favourite Raptors quote in a long time came from Lowry at Media Day on Monday, when he was discussing that he’s not the kind of guy who wants to just talk the talk. In his own words, “I’d rather walk it, then talk it, then walk it some more.”

Ummm, more Kyle Lowry, please.

In all seriousness though, I am a firm believer in the theory that the way Lowry plays the game is contagious, especially with a young team. When guys like Terrence Ross and DeMar DeRozan see Lowry aggressivey pressuring the opposing point guard the entire length of the floor, it’s going to rub off, and the Raptors will be better for it.

I’m with you on trying to find some negatives to discuss in addition to our salivating over him, but other than him missing some games and being undersized, I just can’t find any. If people want to read a more negative player profile, send them to our Kleiza preview.

Scott: Speaking of “rubbing off”, that’s essentially what we’ve been doing in this Lowry discussion. It’s actually starting to make me uncomfortable. Let’s move on.

Comments (14)

  1. I agree completely. Love the way Lowry plays at both ends of the floor, and I think it was a great trade by BC to get him. I still think they got him at a great price and he could be an all star reserve for the East.

  2. What exactly are the specifics surrounding the pick that was traded for him?

    I agree with the general sentiment of your e-mail exchange, you really have to reach to find any negatives about the trade that brought him here or Lowry as a player.

    • As I understand it, the Rockets won’t get a top-3 pick next year, a top-2 pick over the next two years or the No. 1 pick over the next two. Any other lottery pick (in the first season over that period that the Raptors miss the playoffs) goes to the Rockets. If the Raptors make the playoffs, they keep the pick. Weird, huh?

      • Haha, I kind of regret asking that question.

        So, the most realistic best case scenario would be for the Raptors to barely miss the playoffs this upcoming season?

        • Depends on your definition of “realistic”. What if the Raptors make the playoffs five years in a row? (Yeah, right.) Not sure if that means they keep the pick or if they give up the next pick no matter what.

          • In the obviously realistic event that the Raptors make the playoffs for the next five years, then Rockets get Toronto’s draft pick in Year 6, unprotected.

          • I’d rather they just get it out of the way next year in a weak draft instead of this pick becoming the sword of Damocles hanging over the Raptors’ head over the next half decade. Then again, I probably won’t care if they’re making the playoffs on a regular basis.

            Joseph, I’ll assume you’re being sarcastic but just in case you’re not, only 7 current franchises in the league have playoff streaks of 5 years or longer so it’s not something that can easily be replicated.

  3. My question for me is if Lowry will utlimately be a better choice than Bayless. Early returns say hell yes, but Bayless was looking pretty Lowry-like for stretches last year.

    • I think that was Bayless’ ceiling – “Lowry-like stretches.” I don’t think he’ll ever be much more than that, in spite of his youth. He doesn’t have the head for the game.

    • Yes. The answer is yes.

  4. I’m curious to see how the NBA’s flopping rules play into Lowry’s and Toronto’s future. If it’s actually on the level, you would expect ‘veteran savvy’ to mean a whole lot less since 40% of “veteran savvy” is drawing fouls, 40%flopping and the remaining 20% is a bag of nutsack dirty tricks.

    How serious about this is Stern? Has the NBA decided that it doesn’t need the Lakers, the Knicks, the Celtics (…) anymore? Those teams are implicitly built with the idea that youth matters less than ‘savvy’. But in any non-distorted world, youth should matter far more in the hyper-athletic NBA even when you set aside the fact that bad and mediocre players are selected out of the league as they age, with only the greats thriving in their 30′s.

    But the league is more than hospitable to old stars who are not so much basketball players anymore as they are bullshit artists. How much bullshit will be allowed to matter?

    • I don’t think veterans are necessarily more likely to flop than young bucks. Isn’t Blake Griffin a horrible flopper? Has Chris Paul ever not been an egregious flopper? I’m pretty sure Manu Ginobili flopped out of the womb.

  5. I am going on the record here to say that Kyle Lowry will play better in a Toronto uniform than Steve Nash would have…

    Lowry is solid, quick and will give Rondo/DWill/Jkidd a tough guy to guard…..

  6. Joseph you have quite the non-sexual (hopefully) man-crush on Jonas.

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