Bleacher Report has put Kyrie Irving ahead of Kyle Lowry on their top 15 point guards list. But how can a point guard that makes his team worse be ahead of one who makes his team better?
While we patiently wait to hear what the NBA's plan is to return to the NBA, people keep forgetting just how good Kyle Lowry is. Kyle Lowry has been nothing short of great for the Toronto Raptors and sets the perfect example of what a franchise point guard should be. Selfless, hard on defense, great IQ, vision, and most importantly, knows how to make a team better.
Why I am bringing up Kyle Lowry
Bleacher Report has made another list of the top 15 point guards today in the NBA. The last time they have done this (October 2019), they had Kyle Lowry ranked...wait for it...TENTH. A player fresh off winning a championship and being a key contributor to their run was behind players like Mike Conley and De'Aaron Fox. Absurd.
In this version, it seems that they have actually paid attention to what Kyle Lowry does for a basketball team, only a little more. He is ranked as the sixth-best point guard in the league, only behind: Luka Dončić, Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, Ben Simmons, and Kyrie Irving...
Dončić, Lillard, and Paul are all names that should be ahead of Lowry. Ben Simmons is arguable and Kyrie Irving... wait, Kyrie Irving? How is that possible? Irving only played 20 games this season and the team is worst when he is playing. How can he be in front of Kyle Lowry who is an enormous piece in leading this Toronto Raptors team to the third-best record in the league?
Look before the Irving slander continues I want to praise him. Kyrie Irving is an undeniable talent. He has the best handles the game has ever seen, one of the best finishers around the rim, and is an excellent shooter from all around. Sure, he can be a better defender, but on offense, he has all the tools to be the best offensive player in the game.
His problems were never what he can do with a basketball. The problem has always been his inability to play FOR the team. The Boston Celtics were worse with Irving last season, and this season the Brooklyn Nets are worse off when he's playing --- Nets are 8-12 with Irving and 20-20 without. Good point guards are supposed to make the team better, not worse.
The Toronto Raptors' perfect Point Guard
Meanwhile, Kyle Lowry, a player who has always been underappreciated and not talked about enough gives you everything you'd want from a point guard and more. Since 2013-2014, Kyle Lowry has only failed to lead the Toronto Raptors in the top three in the Eastern conference only once --- in 2014-2015 season they finished one game behind third.
He is the perfect point guard. One who does all the dirty work on defense as well as being the floor general on offense. Kyle Lowry makes teams better.
The Toronto Raptors has had many roster changes and has been unafraid to part with franchise players. But there has been one constant, Kyle Lowry. The reason Kyle Lowry was never traded away is that his skill set is nearly irreplaceable. He is one of the NBA's premier point guards, and his value cannot be replaced.
Let's say that you add Kyle Lowry in place of Kyrie Irving on this Brooklyn Nets team, do they get better or worse? If you say worse then you have never watched Kyle Lowry play, and if you say better than you most likely know basketball.
What made the Brooklyn Nets so great the past years is that they played as a team. Kyle Lowry won't take shots from you, if anything he will create even more shots for his teammates and play actual defense.
Now imagine if Kyrie Irving was on the Toronto Raptors, are they still this good? Definitely not. What makes the Toronto Raptors so special is that every player gets maximized on offense and every player plays tough defense. Kyrie would completely torpedo that while demanding the team to play to his needs.
Kyrie Irving makes teams worse and not better. That is not what any player in any position should do, most especially a point guard. Yes, Kyrie Irving is the more skilled player than Lowry, but in no possible universe is Irving a better point guard than Lowry.
Lowry consistently gets underappreciated and undervalued because he's not flashy. He doesn't have handles like Chris Paul, or has plenty of no-look passes like Jason Kidd or even the consistency of John Stockton. He plays winning basketball and although people don't realize that now, people will soon realize that once he is retired, he will be in the same conversation as those players.