Before the lockout season started, fans were already talking about Lowry and a possible breakout year (this is taken from a chat forum and I have added age 25 stats for Lowry):

Kyle Lowry (Note: I discarded his rookie year, in which he missed all
but 10 games due to injury)

21 13.6 4.3 5.1 2.2 .432 .257 .698 14.3
22 12.5 4.1 5.9 2.5 .435 .255 .801 14.4
23 13.5 5.4 6.7 2.5 .397 .272 .827 15.5
24 14.2 4.3 7.0 2.2 .426 .376 .765 16.5
***Addition by Matt52 and only included starting #'s from last year due to return from injury/illness***
25 15.9 5.3 7.2 2.8 .418 .388 .865 18.89*

*PER includes 9 games after comeback where he did not play great back from injury and not starting so PER should be higher.

1. Steve Nash (breakout season in bold)

22 11.2 3.3 7.3 3.3 .423 .418 .824 10.8
23 14.9 3.5 5.7 2.1 .459 .415 .860 15.6
24 8.9 3.2 6.2 2.4 .363 .374 .826 10.9
25 11.3 2.8 6.4 2.4 .477 .403 .882 13.5
26 16.5 3.4 7.7 3.1 .487 .406 .895 19.6

Where the Comparison Work: Like Lowry, Nash spent the
early part of his career as a backup. When given a starting job in Dallas,
he grabbed the bull by the horns and never looked back, eventually becoming a

Where the Comparison Fails: A huge part of what has made
Nash such an effective player is his shooting ability, which he demonstrated
from Day 1. Though I believe Lowry will continue to improve in this
department, I doubt he'll ever reach Nash's level.

2. Gary Payton (breakout season in bold)

22 9.4 4.3 8.5 2.9 .450 .077 .711 13.2
23 10.8 4.2 7.1 2.5 .451 .130 .669 13.1
24 15.7 4.0 5.6 2.1 .494 .206 .770 17.0
25 16.9 3.4 6.2 2.2 .504 .278 .595 17.8
26 20.2 3.4 7.0 2.4 .509 .302 .716 21.3

Where the Comparison Works: Unlike Nash and Lowry, Payton
was more or less a starter from day one, and a defensive ace from
the start. However, he didn't start posting superstar-level numbers
until his age-26 season. In addition, one similarity is that Payton
game into the league with no 3PT range to speak of, and eventually
became a more than respectable shooter.

Where the Comparison Fails: Payton's assist numbers were
likely stifled in his early years do to the fact that he played alongside
another great distributor in Nate McMillan. He also possessed superior
size and athleticism to Lowry (and everyone else listed here). And
though Lowry's a plus defender, if he was going to become the dominant
defensive force that Payton was, we'd probably know by now.

3. John Stockton (breakout season in bold)

22 11.1 2.5 10.0 3.6 .471 .182 .736 13.3
23 11.7 3.3 11.3 3.1 .489 .133 .839 17.0
24 12.6 2.9 13.0 3.2 .499 .179 .782 19.0
25 15.3 3.0 14.3 3.3 .574 .358 .840 23.2

Where the Comparison Works: It doesn't, not really. Because
of his inability to effectively shoot the three ball early in his career, the
Jazz made Stockton a backup for the first three seasons of his
career, and his per-36 minute numbers suggest that this was a mistake.
You can only wonder how many assists he would have collected if he
had started from day one. I will say that like Payton, Stockton came into
the league with virtually no 3PT shot to speak of, and became one of
the best shooters ever. So perhaps there's a remote chance that Lowry
could turn into an elite shooter, in which case I do think he'd become a
perennial all-star.

Where the Comparison Fails: See above.

4. Mo Cheeks (breakout season in bold)

22 10.2 3.8 6.4 2.9 .510 .000 .721 12.6
23 12.3 3.8 7.6 3.0 .540 .444 .779 15.9
24 11.4 3.7 8.3 2.6 .534 .375 .787 16.4
25 12.7 3.6 9.6 2.7 .521 .273 .777 18.3

Where the Comparison Works: I think this may be Lowry's most
reasonable comp. Mo Cheeks was a hard-nosed, scrappy 6'1" PG who
made four All-Star Teams and was four times named to the All-Defense 1st
Team. In his age-25 breakout season he ranked third in the NBA in assists
per game and had a low turnover rate, and the next year he made his first
All-Star team. I could easily see Lowry putting up that kind of campaign
in 2011-12 and having a similar career path.

Where the Comparison Fails: I actually think Lowry's ceiling
is greater than becoming Mo Cheeks 2.0. Though he likely won't be the
defender Mo was, he can certainly hold his own in that department,
and seems to have greater potential as a scorer if his jumper continues
to improve. If Kyle can become the distributor that Cheeks was, I think
he'll eventually surpass him. It should be noted that Mo was generally
the third or fourth best player on some stacked Sixers teams in the '80s.
While I don't think Kyle can be a number one option on a championship
level squad, if he continues to improve I could certainly see him as
the second best player on a very good team.

Fantasy basketball nerds were planning, plotting, and speculating:

* Kyle Lowry’s stock is soaring. It flew under the radar a bit, but over the last 18 games Lowry played during the 2010-2011 regular season, he averaged 18.4 points, 7.8 assists, 4.9 rebounds, 2.7 three-pointers, 1.2 steals, and shot over 87% from the FT line. Read that again, that is not a misprint. During that 45-day stretch, Lowry was the 5th ranked player in all of fantasy – the top 4 were (in order): Kevin Durant, LeBron James, D Wade, Chris Paul, and… Kyle Lowry. Lowry is soaring up draft boards this month, for good reason. You might have to use a 3rd or 4th round pick to secure his services.

Talk early in the season backed up the praise:

The Houston Rockets took it on the chin Tuesday evening, losing to the Los Angeles Lakers 108-99, but they had one bright spot in the form of Kyle Lowry, who nearly posted a triple-double. Lowry finished the game with 22 points, 9 assists, 10 rebounds, 2 steals and 4 3-pointers. This comes on the heels of an 18-assist New Year's Eve performance against the Atlanta Hawks.

So how high can Lowry go this season? Well, he had a semi-breakout campaign last season, averaging 13.5 points, 6.7 assists, 4.1 rebounds, 1.4 steals and a 3-pointer per game. In 14 March games, he averaged 19.8 points, 8.1 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 2.3 3-pointers per game. That combination of assists, steals and 3s is extremely enticing, and judging by his early play this season, we might be seeing the beginning of a full-blown breakout campaign from Lowry.

The only concerns about him at this point are a sometimes shaky field goal percentage (42.7 field goal percentage last season, 41.1 percent this season, 0-for-6 from the field on New Year's Eve), too many turnovers (3.2 per game early on, including six on New Year's Eve) and consistency. The last part could be the biggest issue. The Rockets are thin on talent this season, and although that offers Lowry plenty of opportunities, it also means he won't have as much help succeeding as he would on another team. But right now, it appears he's confident and good enough to succeed all on his own.

The end of a difficult and frustrating, but promising, year:

A season that began with guard Kyle Lowry playing at an All-Star level will end with him getting ready for off-season