Name: Kyle Lowry
Position: Point Guard
Weight: 205 lbs.
Season with Raptors: 0 (trade with Houston Rockets)
2011-2012 Stats: 47 GP, 32.1 MPG, 14.3 PPG, 6.6 APG, 2.0 RPG, 1.6 SPG, 40.9 FG%, 37.4 3P%, 86.4 FT%, 18.89 PER
Raps fans, meet your new starting Point Guard. Jose has been keeping the spot warm, but the New Sheriff is in town, ready to lead our guys to the playoffs. That’s the party line anyway, but until this guy gets on the floor, and starts to mesh with our returnees, we’re wishin’ & hopin’ [RIP: Dusty Springfield].
There’s little doubt of Kyle’s ability. He was picked #24 by Memphis in ’06, then was moved to Houston in his fourth season. Two seasons ago, he averaged double figures in PPG for the first time, and did it again last year. His PER of 18.89 placed him behind such heady company as Chris Paul, OKC’s Westbrook, Parker of the Spurs, Cleveland’s Irving, Captain Canada, D-Will and Ty Lawson (I guy I love, BTW. He’s a small man, but a big reason why I’ve got the Nuggets ranked high in my pre-season forecast, coming soon to a website near you). Being 8th best in the NBA is mighty impressive. It’s beyond understanding why Houston considered the receipt of Gary Forbes (will he even make the Rockets?) and a conditional first-round pick to be adequate value for Kyle Lowrie. I’ll join in the round of applause which Colangelo received for this trade.
Alvin Williams, my favourite Raptor of all time, is responsible for easing Kyle’s arrival in the Big Smoke, as they are both Philadelphia-born Villanova men. Kyle seems to be happy joining the Raps, which is quite a contrast to his situation in Houston. He publicly griped about Coach McHale last season, and forced a rebuilding Rockets team to deal him. So far all is sweetness & light between Kyle and Dwane Casey; whether that continues is hard to guess. Neither man is a shrinking violet.
Is Kyle a poor man’s Chris Paul? They are physically similar, as is their playing style. Lightening quick and fearless, Kyle will penetrate to score or dish, which should allow more open looks for Bargnani, Fields, and DD (please!). He is considered a solid defender, and will need to be, as the number of speed demons playing PG in the NBA is unprecedented in my memory. It’s that side of the ball where Kyle will distance himself from Jose in training camp, and render this alleged position battle something of a charade. Kyle doesn’t get as many assists as Jose, and is more prone to turnovers, but Kyle will be in the face of the opponents’ track stars in a way that Jose cannot hope to match. However, I think there will be a number of end of game situations where we will see Jose and Kyle together, particularly when the Raps are closing out tight wins. They both protect the ball well, and will cheerfully bury free throws when the opponents are forced to foul.
Kyle, you’re in the right place, and you can make it the right time. Toronto is crying out for a winner, and you can earn the keys to the city if you can guide the Raptors to the playoffs. Good luck.