It seems unfathomable, but it might be true.
The Toronto Raptors are better off without Steve Nash.
That's what happens when the consolation prize -- not that anyone around the franchise would call Kyle Lowry that -- is off to the best start a newcomer has had through three games in franchise history.
The Raptors love Lowry, the point guard of the present and the future they acquired from the Houston Rockets and the one they handed the keys to the franchise when they couldn't give them to Nash as Captain Canada.
They love everything about him, from his bowling ball with a sneer style to his absurdly team-friendly contract, which still has this year and next remaining at $12 million total.
If Lowry, 26, continues to perform anything close to the level he has through his first three games, where he's averaged 23.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 3.7 steals while shooting 57.5 per cent from the field, he'll be the most underpaid player in the NBA.
It's gotten to the point where Raptors president Bryan Colangelo has had to fend off 'what's the catch' queries from fans who can't quite believe the guy who looks like he could be the best all-around point guard in franchise history (and we know, it's only been three games) was acquired for a protected future first-round pick and Gary Forbes of all people.
"I had a guy come up to me and say 'look, this guy's great, but what are we missing, how we'd get him'?" Colangelo said in advance of the Raptors' quick two-game road swing through Oklahoma City and Dallas which begins Tuesday night. "How do we get this guy for a first-round pick?"
The answer, in a nutshell, is the Raptors were the beneficiaries of a unique combination of circumstances. They began when Lowry, whose chief flaw may be a bullheadedness that can occasionally tip over into hot-headedness, got into a scrape with Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale.