Apr 6, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (3) during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Milwaukee won 100-83. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Stay or Go? - Kyle Lowry

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.

Feb 22, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Raptors forward Rudy Gay (22) talks to point guard Kyle Lowry (3) during their game against the New York Knicks at the Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Knicks 100-98. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

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.





Tags: Kyle Lowry Rudy Gay Toronto Raptors

  • Hoopgirl1st

    Newmarket Brian, wish you could give me a heads up on what/who you are going to be posting on! This is were I will exercise the wisdom of “if you’ve got nothing nice to say, stay quiet”. cahnth thypeth hanymoreth whileth ah bithe mah thongue.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Hoopgirl: Let me guess – you’re not Kyle’s biggest fan, are you? It took me a few readings to get your point, and it was worth it. You brought me a smile.
      Thanks for (amusingly) commenting.

  • Guy

    Injuries aside, I think a big reason for the up&down season for Lowry is that Coach Casey failed to utilize him properly. Lowry’s natural strengths are to be aggressive, a scorer & playmaker. But rather than find a way to best exploit those skills, Casey tried to turn him into Jose Calderon. He made KL shelve his natural instincts & forced him into an unnatural role as a facilitator. It should come as no surprise that Lowry’s play/stats improved the last month of the year when Casey took the reins off & let him play his more natural style.

    I don’t think it’s so much a question if Lowry can bounce back, as it is can the coach design a system that allows him to play to his strengths. As Isaid many times last year, if Lowry is going to fail in Toronto, I’d rather he did so playing his natural style.

    He should stay.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Guy: Hmmm….You may be right. I’m not suggesting Lowry should stop trying to score, but he does have to do a better job finding the balance between passing and shooting. He has to be a facilitator some of the time, or he won’t succeed at the point.
      With more scorers in the lineup this season (Rudy all 82 games, Jonas becoming an offensive threat), Kyle will get his chance to be the complete package the Raps need.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • Rowdy101

    I like Lowry and the offensive penetration he provides. He can lead when his head is on right, but he is the type that loses his game and doesn’t adapt well without being told. During that early losing streak last year, his decision making skills were very poor, and he went through some 3 for 13 averages, resulting in turnovers and blowouts in the 4th quarter.

    If the Raps are to keep Lowry, then they need a similar version of him that they can bring on when he gets out of sorts. I don’t think he can play a full game at a high level.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Rowdy: I like your thought that Lowry “doesn’t adapt well without being told.” Kyle strikes me as a coach-killer. It’s possible to be too smart for your own good – could that afflict him?
      Raptors’ depth (more correctly, lack of it) is a huge issue. The point guard position is probably the number one example of that.
      Thanks for commenting.

      • Rowdy101

        I agree with the “Coach Killer” concept. Coach Casey took a lot of heat for apparently trying to make him into Calderon. I don’t think that’s the case. He needs the coach to tell him when to switch levels of intensity. The same holds true for Rudy Gay.

        Keep both players, though. Imagine if the Huskies can get that quality 3 player (if Bargnani ever could be) and a consistent 3 point shooter with this group, they would be difficult to stop, as they were towards the end of last year.

        • Newmarket_Brian

          Hi Rowdy: Yes, keep them both. Hopefully they can create some serious chemistry.
          I’m amused to see you refer to the team as “Huskies”. You might be right, sooner than later.
          Stay in touch, please.