Toronto Raptors: Which players will lead each statistical category?

Toronto Raptors - Marc Gasol (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Marc Gasol (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Kyle Lowry (Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Assists

Last year: Kyle Lowry

Like the Ibaka pick for blocks, Kyle Lowry as the Raptors assist leader is a no-brainer. Last season, he averaged a career-high 8.7 assists per game, second in the league. This season, expect Lowry to do the exact same.

The Raptors played expansive, fluid basketball in Nick Nurse’s first season as head coach. Before his promotion to head coach, Nurse was part of the turnaround in Dwane Casey’s system, as the Raptors went from an iso-driven offense with Lowry and DeMar DeRozan to a pace-and-space team that liked to get out on the run.

If anyone excelled in that setting, it was Kyle Lowry. Despite the great scoring numbers during the Casey era, Lowry has never been a scorer first and passer second – it’s the reverse formula that makes him so great.

Lowry can push the pace, dominate in the pick-and-roll, and launch 50-feet heaves to Pascal Siakam in transition. He’ll operate as the Raptors lead facilitator once again, and will likely be the secondary scorer – but it won’t be a hefty dosage of isolation plays. Nick Nurse can scheme players open with aggressive ball movement, and Lowry will be at the heart of it.

Winner: Kyle Lowry