However, Lowry clearly can not dominate night in and night out. He can at times dominate a game, but never consistently. So the trade off is consistent superior team play vs less reliable superior individual play. So aside from my personal belief that a PG's most important role is getting their teammates involved (and why I like Jose) until Lowry can prove he can be consistent about his individual play while also getting others more involved (which he undoubtedly has the capacity to do) starting and playing Jose makes more sense.
(In the grand scheme of things I'm not concerned who starts/finishes, both are quality PGs and I still expect both to have years of quality PG play in them - Lowry because he's younger, Jose because his style of play lends itself to a long shelf life).
In general though there is no question this team needs alot more talent. But I also don't think adding Gay is the solution. This team needs to be rebuilt and it needs to do that through the draft. Gay is a good player, but not that stud this team needs. Add a rather terrible contract and that Toronto is almost guaranteed to send a quality young player in order to obtain him, its just the step forward before two steps back.
Ideal situation for Toronto this year is to end between 4th and 14th to get that protected pick out of their hair. Trading/amnestying Bargnani. Finding a way to add high draft picks. Consistent minutes for Ross and Val. And setting up for a long losing season next year. (I'd also add finding a new home for Demar to that list)
We know Bargnani's history. 7 years, silver spoon, no heart.
Year 1: broke wrist
year 2: Conley drafted
Year 3: traded to Houston
Year 4: very capable backup
Year 5: full time starter, helped guide Rockets to 4 games above .500 in west
Year 6: same as year 5 until injury, lost starting job to Dragic
Year 7: started year awesome, battled injuries, another case of the backup playing well when he went down
Situation can be just as important as talent in the NBA. Lowry has had some unfortunate situations. Now he is in another unfortunate situation where he is being asked to change his game because the supporting cast need to be spoon fed.
"You donít know the Bruno Caboclo......"Bruno Caboclo
Matt did a good job but here are a few other points.
Lowry is an undersized guard who has worked hard to go from a late first rounder to a starter who was getting all-star talk before his injury. He has been a guy second guessed his entire career and still come out on top.
Bargnani is a soft behemoth who was taken first overall, never had to work hard to earn his playing time or roster spot and has been a lethargic disappointment for all but 13 games of his career.
Lowry will not turn into Chris Paul, but he has the skill and work ethic to become a big time player. And while it is often true that stars are stars from day one, there are plenty of examples of players getting better even later in their career. Look at Chauncey Billups for example. Especially at the point, experience leads to improvement. Given that Lowry hasn't been given as much of an opportunity as Bargnani, it certainly seems likely that he will still improve his game in the areas that aren't fully developed yet (mostly, setting up teammates) and yet he is young enough that his physical skills wont be diminished.
Here are my responses to Lowry's 7 years:
Year 1: Okay.
Year 2: Why?
Year 3: Okay.
Year 4: Exactly.
Year 5: Great! Full time starter in his 5th season!
Year 6: Exactly.
Year 7: Exactly.
Here's the thing. Conley, Calderon, Dragic -- none of these guys are stars. Yet if I read some comments on these forums, I would think that Lowry has the potential to be one. When exactly is that going to happen? If he's a top 5-10 point guard, then why have all these coaches chosen to start average point guards over him? Simply because the team is doing well? I can think of several point guards who would not lose their starting position when returning from injury, and all of them are in the top 10 rankings of point guards. Situation is one thing and I see your point in this regard, but it's been 7 years and it's the same thing over and over and over again.
We all love to watch basketball and we think we know a lot, but these coaches, it can't be that they're all wrong. I could understand if it were one coach, but all of them?
Year 2: Why? Because he was taken 24th the year before, missed most of the season, and then Conley was selected 4th overall.
The discussion is in the here and now and he has shown when healthy he is top 10 PG material in this league. I don't think what Dragic did last year was average when Lowry went out and I don't think what Calderon has done this year is average when Lowry went out either.
I am not sure what you are arguing here. There is no question of the guys talent. When healthy and when given minutes he is a triple double threat every time he steps on to the court. Even after some pretty horrendous games of late he is still rocking a PER of nearly 22.
The issue surrounding Lowry that I am starting to question is his durability and conditioning.... not his talent or ability to start and be a top 10 PG in this league.
"You donít know the Bruno Caboclo......"Bruno Caboclo
I still think the only even somewhat 'untouchable' players on the roster are Valanciunas and Ross. I have no issue trading any other player, as long as it's part of a good trade to make the team better with the long-term in mind.
I am strongly in favor of maximizing the value of your assets, which would mean trading players who have expiring contracts or players who aren't in the long-term plans for the team, in order to turn them into something tangible (ie: draft picks, cap space, young prospects) that could become part of the long-term core. Players like Calderon (although I'd try to sign him again in the offseason), Kleiza, Anderson, Pietrus, Gray, Lucas and Acy come to mind.
That leaves 6 players in the middle-ground, who I don't view as 'untouchable' or as 'trade bait': Bargnani, Davis, Johnson, DeRozan, Fields, Lowry
- as strong a supporter of his that I've been, I agree that it's now in everybody's best interest to trade him
- I don't view him as 'trade bait', since I think he still has talent and shouldn't just be given away
- I like them both and they have played pretty well together, but on a contending team, I don't think both are needed
- I would still look to trade one of them because I think they're both ideally suited to a backup PF / 3rd big role, since neither of them is very good at creating their own shot
- I still don't think he's worth his contract because he's far too inconsistent, though it's unlikely he gets dealt unless it's for a player like Gay (a wing with an even bigger contract)
- he desperately needs to develop a better, more consistent 3pt shot, otherwise opposition will sag off him and give him the long shots, to prevent penetration
- good glue guy, unlikely to be traded due to his contract
- will be good Tony Allen type player in an improved starting rotation, or as a 2nd unit wing
- needs to get that ugly shot figured out, hopefully will come along as he recovers from surgery
- I was happy with the trade, but have not been impressed with him; his defense seems overrrated, his offense is inconsistent, his attitude has been Ford/Bayless-esque and I still prefer a pass-first PG
- at the start of the season I had him down as nearly 'untouchable', but I don't think that's the case anymore - his great contract and upside could be a very valuable trade chip
I don't think I would support 'blowing it up', but I am all for making trades that put this team in a position to be better (ie: more talented) in the long-term.
As for the poll, I like #1 and #3.
Given Gay's age, I think if #1 and #3 were combined, it wouldn't be an acceleration of the building plan, but just a juggling of core pieces (ie: if the trade was Calderon & DeRozan & Davis for Gay & Selby) - it would just be replacing DeRozan with Gay.
Last edited by CalgaryRapsFan; Mon Jan 14th, 2013 at 01:15 PM.
1 - I strongly disagree with you about Conley. Conley is a very underrated point; combined with Allen, the defense provided by the Memphis guards is one of the least talked about aspects of that team's success. He's a plus defensively, has three point range, and distributes the ball effectively within what is a very big-man oriented attack. If Gasol and Randolph (neither of whom need to be assisted for a decent number of their points, and the former of whom is an excellent passer himself that they often run the offense through) weren't on that team, you'd see a higher assist total for Conley, so the fact that he willingly plays a team game and defends like an angry wolverine hides his value somewhat (as those are not captured well by the box score). However, that shouldn't cause people to underestimate him. A lot of teams would probably swap PGs with Memphis.
2 - That last year in Houston, Lowry was playing very well before he went down, and the team was playing well around him. Dragic clearly picked up the slack and continued to deliver, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it was a good decision not to give Lowry his job back (more like 50-50), and there were clearly some very deep issues between him and McHale to begin with that created issues for the team (they lost both Lowry and Dragic and only bailed themselves out with a hail mary for Lin, so you can't say that was handled well, and Lowry has the best contract of those three for a team). For instance, if DeMar went down for the Raptors, and someone stepped in and provide materially similar stats with the team performing identically and DeMar lost his job, does that mean he's suddenly a bad player? Should he even have lost his job? The Lowry situation at the end of the Houston tenure was ugly, and notice Dragic is a starter elsewhere as well. It's possible for teams to have multiple starting quality guys at a single position; in fact, it can create problems (just look at the double-center issue the Lakers are having right now), and in this case, it did.
3 - With all that said, Lowry is in a terrible situation for the Raptors. The team will probably perform worse with him at the point than they will with Calderon; Lowry plays better when he can execute a drive and kick game, which means he needs shooters surrounding him. Other than Calderon and Bargnani (both of whom are minus defenders, one of whom creates an undersized backcourt when played with Lowry, and one of whom is slightly more lethargic than most sloths), who does Toronto even have with 3pt range to play alongside him? Calderon is the best point for this team right now because nobody can create a shot for themselves, and nobody can shoot the 3 reliably. In the same way, if you put Mike Conley or Brandon Jennings on this team, they'd probably be a worse fit for the Raptors than Calderon, but I doubt you're going to see any GMs trading either of those guys (despite what warts they may have) straight up for Calderon. The problem is the brutal offensive deficiency of the Raptors lineup; when you need nearly Steve Nash level passing just to get to league average, you're in bad shape. The reality is their two best offenses for the Raptors are Calderon creating shots for everyone else with his passing (and then giving up just as much on defense, which should lead you to a .500 or sub-.500 but non-terrible team, which is exactly what the Raps have been during his tenure) or Lowry going mid-2000s Kobe and trying to score 40+ a game because nobody else on the team can play offense.
So with all that said, the problem isn't Lowry (he's pretty good if a bit selfish on offense, yet people often forget he's a ridiculously good individual defender and should be a big plus for most well constructed teams). It's terrible team management by the GM, a talent deficit on offense, and poorly fitting parts. Either you can top out as a borderline 8-seed with Calderon leading an attack, or you have to tear it down to build around Lowry with a very different cast, but that's your two options if you look at the point for the Raptors right now. Personally I'd go with Lowry and trade Calderon, because I'd rather have the upside and Calderon is probably out after this season anyways.
So would you say that bringing in Lowry to begin with was a mistake? As you said, the make up of this team was not an environment in which Lowry could thrive in. But we traded a first round pick for him -- weak draft or not, the decision here was to trade future for a guy that was never going to be a good fit without other drastic changes to the roster which were obviously not made.
I know your choice, but what's more likely to happen here -- building around Lowry who is currently being used as the backup point guard and bringing in guys who can create their own shot and shoot with range (we have several guys locked in already that don't do these things) and a few trading pieces that no one wants -- or is it more realistic to build around Calderon and improving other areas to carry us above that borderline 8th seed potential? Might not be a better option, but I see the latter as a more probable course of action.
I'm not sure what it is with Lowry. He looks really off the last few games. Maybe it's what Matt alluded too, and that he is just too worried about spoon-feeding the rest of the guys and not concerned enough with his own game. But he has actually looked very slow-footed. He was blowing by guys at the start of the season and was getting anything he wanted at will. I see him constantly being cut off on his drives and forced into stupid passes/shots. Is the guy still injured? What gives? Has anyone else noticed this?
So basically Lowry could be a good PG, but only if...
1. Valanciunas develops into a solid C, capable of cleaning the offensive glass and hitting short jumpers consistently
2. Davis/Amir play consistently as starting PF, like they did yesterday (and no long 2's please... looking at you Amir)
3. SF & SG both need to be upgraded to players who can consistently hit 3pt shot (ie: NOT DeRozan, NOT Fields, but possibly Ross eventually)
I'm not entirely convinced that's a good plan, but it's probably the best option this team currently has.
I don't think building around/with Calderon as a starting PG is any better, considering he's 31 and far too old to be part of the team's long-term building plans.