Bryan Colangelo’s hand-picked point guard of the future endured a wild ride in his first season as a Toronto Raptor. Kyle Lowry started the year on fire, cooled off, then got hurt and lost his starter’s job to Jose Calderon. He was the beneficiary when Jose was shipped away, but played indifferently until finally seeming to regain his mojo after the team’s playoff hopes were in ruins. His season was the antithesis of predictability, which is not what you want from your starting point guard, who’s supposed to have a steady hand on the team’s tiller. Another undesirable characteristic of Kyle: he likes to argue with his coach. It’s easy to understand why such a talented player, playing a position in which skill is always in short supply, has suited up for 3 teams in 7 NBA seasons.
Can he bounce back, or, more precisely, can his poor games be fewer in number? Kyle does a lot of things well, including some I wish he didn’t. For example, he’s an excellent rebounder for a tiny player, but his willingness to mix it up with the big men has eminently foreseeable consequences, otherwise known as injuries. Kyle has never played an entire season for anyone. Another issue for me is Kyle’s penchant for the spectacular pass, rather than the safe one. I enjoy exciting passes like anyone else, but too many of them leads to turnovers. His career statistics have been marred by a poor assist-to-turnover ratio, and last year’s 6.4-to-2.31 was another dreary example. Kyle likes to hoist up 3-balls, but hits them at a so-so 36.2% clip.
Kyle was very pleased by the arrival in Toronto of his close friend Rudy Gay. They began to display the chemistry we would enjoy seeing in April, when the Raps ended the season with a 7-2 run, including victories over playoff-bound teams like the Bulls, Hawks and Nets. How that encouraging finish will carry over is anyone’s guess.
Kyle’s compensation is a very reasonable $6.2M next season, the last one for which he’s under contract. Motivation should not be an issue for him.
Here’s the conclusion: Kyle should Stay. There’s no one on the roster who can take his place, which is a grave weakness I’m sure Masai Ujiri is only too aware of. Our GM needs to find a backup point guard who can provide a different look than Kyle’s helter-skelter one. I’d be very happy if the Raps started camp with 4 or so kids, and a few veterans, who can push John Lucas for the back up slot, or even Kyle for the starter’s.
Brian Boake is Senior Editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.