When you think of the best point guards in the NBA you immediately think of Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook or Tony Parker. Some other names have been popping up on the list, such as Damian Lillard, John Wall, Ty Lawson and Kyrie Irving. There's many people involved in the discussion, while others get overlooked. A player that many people don't acknowledge or pay much attention to is Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry. Is he the best point guard in the NBA? No. However, the way he has been playing this year, people should give him more credit. He has definitely been among the best point guards in the league and based on that, along with the fact that the Raptors are winning their Division, he deserves serious consideration for the 2014 All-Star Game.
Lowry, 27, is in his second season with the Raptors. After sharing time at point guard with former-Raptor Jose Calderon last year, Lowry has finally started to come into his own as the guaranteed starter. He's battled a back injury and a finger injury during his time in Toronto, but finally seems to be healthy, and it shows.
Being the point guard of the team usually means you are the leader. Most point guards run their team on offense and dictate responsibilities to teammates on defense. However, for the majority of his time with the Raptors, Lowry was overshadowed by the likes of Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan. Having two high-profile and high-volume shooters on the team led to Lowry being unnoticed and left out of the equation at times.
Rudy Gay would often control the offense, running the clock down and taking an ill-advised shot. There would be little to no ball movement in the offense, because he would hold on to the ball when he got it. DeRozan was the same way and played a similar style to Gay, although he wasn't as big of a ball stopper as Gay was.
Rudy Gay was traded from the Raptors to the Sacramento Kings on December 9. Although it can hurt to lose a talented player like Gay, it was the best thing that could have happened to this Raptors team.
Lowry really took on the leadership role on and off the court once Rudy Gay was traded away. Although DeMar DeRozan is the go-to-guy on the team, Lowry has been the catalyst and one of the biggest reasons for their success. He does a fantastic job running the point and constantly puts his teammates in the best position to succeed. He moves the ball well and that type of play has become very contagious with the Raptors over the last month, leading to more assists and easier buckets.
Here is a chart regarding Lowry's stats this season
|Prior To Trade||After Trade||Season Totals|
|Points Per Game||14.3||17.6||15.9|
|Assists Per Game||6.6||8.4||7.5|
|Team Points Per Game||97.3||100.6||98.8|
As you can see by the stats, Lowry's play over the last 16 games has drastically improved and a lot of that, if not all, can be attributed to the departure of Rudy Gay. Since the trade, he has become more comfortable as a player and as a teammate. He is really starting to come into his own and the Raptors might want to look at extending his contract in the offseason. Not only has his play improved, but the whole team's play has improved and it all starts with Lowry.
Lowry is also a strong rebounder for his size, averaging just over four rebounds per game. He contributes on both ends of the floor as he averages 1.7 steals per game. He shoots the ball well and makes more than two three-pointers per game. There are so many aspects of Lowry's game that go unnoticed, but none more than his ability to draw a charge on defense.
Whether it is running back on defense during transition or sliding over to help a teammate, Lowry always seems to be in the right spot at the right time. So far this season, Lowry has drawn the most charges and the most offensive fouls of any player in the NBA. His ability to get in the face of his opponent, while maintaining good position, has benefited the Raptors, providing them with much needed stops on the defensive end.
There are a lot of talented guards in the Eastern Conference, but we think that based on what he has shown this season, along with the Raptors currently leading their Division, that Kyle Lowry definitely deserves to be an all-star. He can't do it alone though, he needs your help.
You can vote by going to allstarballot.nba.com or by using the hashtag "NBABallot" along with his full name.
(Ex. Kyle Lowry #NBABallot)
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