After winning ten of thirteen games since their recent roster overhaul, including riding a five game winning streak, Toronto can put all the tank talk to bed. With it, should go all the media chatter about whether Kyle Lowry will remain with the Raptors.
Before you stand up to shake your fists at the ludicrous idea of retaining a hard-nosed, blue-collar, work horse of a talent entering his prime. Please, relax and pour yourself a drink before that vein above your left eye ruptures. I understand the concern, you think heís going to leave town at seasonís end, or the Raptors are going to end up paying him too much to keep him.
Iíve been watching from day one just like you, but make no mistake this is no Bosh or McGrady situation. Bosh, Wade and James had a plan, put it together and have two championships because of it. McGrady couldnít stand in cousin Vinceís shadow and bolted to Orlando the second he could- a decision he openly regrets.
The difference for Lowry is that Toronto is a place he belongs. Heís put up 11+ assists in 4 of his last 5, is currently fifth in the league in assist to TO ratio, and is doing all the right things to help his team win which right now they are doing in spades. Pair that with his blue-collar work ethic, and the grit and fearlessness that sum up his game and you have the embodiment of what Toronto fans expect from their professional athletes.
For those out there that bring up the contract year argument, itís a poorly thought out stance. Lowry isnít padding his individual stats to inflate his value a la Mike James. Heís playing within Dwane Caseyís system, heís hitting timely threes, he takes charges from anyone and he puts his teammates in situations where they will succeed. Despite a small sample, the result is irrefutable and Kyle Lowry is a huge reason the Raptors plus .500 right now.
The big knock on Lowryís game was his tendency to gamble for steals and move out of position to grab rebounds that turn into easy baskets for the opponents. At first glance certainly itís a negative aspect of his game, but really a testament to his competitiveness. With the Raptors having developed a sense of trust with each other, Lowry has moved away from the sketchy plays and trusts his teammates to grab the defensive rebound and find him on the outlet instead of trying to do it all on his own.
Kyle also brings something intangible to this team that is a quintessential component to every successful club in the NBA, an identity. Itís grit, itís diving on the floor, itís winning 50/50 battles and itís a never give up attitude. Itís all the things that Lowry brings to the table that this team is starting to do, and because of it theyíre winning games.
I have no disillusions about the possibility of Lowry being moved. Itís a business, and if the right deal comes up Masai Ujiri will pull the trigger. But when it comes down to it, the Raptorís GM wonít take a penny less in return for Lowryís worth, a price few teams are willing or able to afford right now. So settle in Toronto, put all the Lowry trade talk to bed and get ready for the best NBA ball weíve seen this side of the border in years.