Fan Duel Toronto Raptors

Morning Coffee – Thu, Jan 30

It's Lowry time

It’s Lowry time

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixMiWZcAnzc

Likely heading for his sixth NBA All-Star Game, why is Kyle Lowry still fighting for more respect? – The Athletic

Lowry is everything most fans say they want in a player. Without a physical advantage among his peers, with the possible exception of his formidable posterior that allows him to gain leverage against bigger players on both ends of the court, Lowry still manages to stand out. He recovered from a slow start to his career, “losing” positional battles with two franchises before remaking his career with his third team, in the process becoming the biggest factor in turning a perennially disappointing franchise into one of the league’s best. He has evolved from a malcontent into a true leader, with his teammates following him in lockstep.

Yet, Lowry’s value and stardom within the league remain in question. With a formula that factors in fans (50 percent), media and players (25 percent), he finished tied for fourth in All-Star voting among Eastern Conference guards — sixth among fans, fifth among players and fourth with the media. It was not particularly surprising, especially when considering that fans voted Kyrie Irving, who has played just 17 games, and Derrick Rose, a no-defence reserve, ahead of him. Some players have outsized popularity among fans. And Lowry, even though he has started in the All-Star Game before, has never been one of them outside of Canada.

But take a deeper look and things get even more egregious. Three-quarters of TNT’s Inside The NBA panel — former players Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal — did not have Lowry on their would-be list of reserves. (Two of them had Rose on and Lowry off.)

“I did see that. I was on one ballot. Whatever,” Lowry said. “They don’t watch us as much, I think.”

Raptors’ Kyle Lowry still has time to build Hall of Fame case – Sportsnet.ca

But we might be getting ahead of ourselves with the Hall of Fame questions.

First things first: on Thursday night in Cleveland, if all goes well, Lowry will find out he has been chosen by the coaches as a reserve for the Eastern Conference all-star team.

It would mark his sixth straight season qualifying for the mid-season showcase and sixth overall, a remarkable feat given he didn’t make it for the first time until he was 28 years old and in his ninth season.

Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said it would “unfathomable” for Lowry to be overlooked on the coach’s ballot, considering he’s coming off an NBA championship, is once again leading one of the NBA’s best teams in the regular season while topping the NBA in minutes per game at age 34. Nurse also catalogued a variety of things Lowry does that help teams win that you only see if you’re paying attention.

That Lowry is the only guard in the East not starting in the All-Star Game to average at least 19 points, seven assists, four rebounds and a steal should help his cause as well.

But making the All-Star Game again would be another line on his burgeoning Hall of Fame resume.

Like Kobe, Kyle Lowry put in the work to be great – TSN.ca

“Kyle Lowry reminds me a lot of Kobe Bryant,” McKechnie said. “[He] comes in in the morning, works hard, works at so many different things, recognizes [what he needs to work on]. [He’s] just very similar, very similar.”

On the surface, that doesn’t seem like a natural comparison.

Bryant was a phenom coming out of high school. He found almost immediate success in the NBA, being named an all-star as a teenager in his second season. Lowry was a late bloomer. He didn’t become an all-star until he was 28 and in his ninth season.

Bryant played above the rim, at least for the first half of his career. He was almost always the most athletic player on the court. He took a lot of shots and scored a lot of points but there was always some question as to whether he was making his teammates better.

Lowry has only dunked two or three times in his career and not since the 2015 All-Star Game. He’s generously listed at six-feet and isn’t shaped like most NBA athletes. He’s not the quickest and certainly isn’t the most athletic. Instead, he uses his mind and his body to gain any advantage he can find on the court. His game is less showy. He excels in the nuances – hunting fouls and two-for-ones, taking charges, fighting for loose balls, and securing extra possessions by any means necessary. Much of his value lies in the way he makes everybody else on the floor better.

Their games are very different. Their backgrounds are different, though they’re both from Philadelphia. They play different positions and have different roles.

But look closer.

Toronto Raptors Temperature: To remember and to be grateful – Raptors HQ

Kyle Lowry, A Royal Pain
There is an overflowing abundance of things to be grateful for about Kyle Lowry. He’s long been the greatest Raptor of all time, he does every little thing you could possibly ask for of a player on the court and he seems to be a genuinely good person. I’m most grateful for the giant pain in the ass that he is for opposing players and referees. Never change, Kyle.

Lowry could set Raptors record with sixth all-star selection Thursday | Toronto Sun

A sixth selection would move Lowry ahead of some excellent players, such as Pete Maravich, Sidney Moncrief, Reggie Miller, Bob McAdoo, Kevin Love, Connie Hawkins, Gail Goodrich, Wes Unseld, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, Raptors senior advisor Wayne Embry and one of Lowry’s mentors, Chauncey Billups. He’d have as many appearances as Joe Dumars, Pau Gasol, Blake Griffin, Tom Heinsohn, Tony Parker, Tiny Archibald and more. Not bad for a guy who was a late first-round pick, dealt away twice before turning 26 and thought he was just stopping through Canada briefly before finding a more permanent home after “putting in his time.”

Instead, Lowry became the engine of the Raptors, the key driver of so many wins over the years and, eventually, with a Game 6 performance for the ages, an NBA champion.

STORY CONTINUES BELOW

For many years,  Carter — coincidentally in town with the Hawks for Tuesday’s game — was the man associated with the franchise, the consensus quintessential Raptor. And while Kawhi Leonard made the title possible and DeMar DeRozan might have been more popular, Lowry’s the greatest of all Raptors.

Nick Nurse says Kyle Lowry being left off all-star team would be “unfathomable” – TSN.ca

The 33-year-old Lowry is a five-time NBA all-star, but wasn’t voted in as a starter for this year’s annual showcase game. The reserves, which are voted on by the league’s head coaches, will be announced on Friday. The benches are filled with three frontcourt players, two backcourt players, and two wildcard picks.

Some online mock drafts either listed Lowry on the bubble, or not on the roster at all.

Nurse could only shake his head at the thought of Lowry, who helped the Raptors win an historic NBA championship in June, possibly not being one of them.

“If that guy’s not on an all-star ballot considering the last 18 months, the last six months, and where our team is, that’s unfathomable to me,” Nurse said. “And (if) anybody that has decent knowledge of the game or the NBA would keep him off, it wouldn’t make sense to me, it wouldn’t make any sense to me at all.

“Not even close. Not even close to me, so . . . why’re we talking about this?” he added, with mock grumpiness.

The Raptors could be hamstrung if Marc Gasol’s tissue troubles become a long-term concern | The Star

The best-case scenario is that Gasol’s latest tweak of the hammy is no big deal, the kind of occupational hazard that only needs a week or two of rest to right itself. And that’s probably the most likely outcome here. Gasol, to his enormous credit and vast financial gain in a career that’s seen him earn about $178 million (U.S.) in NBA salary, has weathered the universal battle against Father Time with rare grace.

He’s one of just 10 players age 35 or older still active in the league, according to Basketball-Reference.com. Of that group, only LeBron James had started more games than Gasol this season heading into Wednesday night.

And as much as you could look at his stats and wrongly assume he shouldn’t be confused with a core piece of a championship defence — because 7.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists a game leap off the page in the same understated way the ground-bound Spaniard reluctantly flushes his occasional dunks — anybody who watched this team play in last year’s playoffs knows the numbers don’t necessarily tell the story.

As Nurse said during the title run, it wasn’t long after the Raptors acquired Gasol at last year’s trade deadline that his presence changed something fundamental about the club. And if not for Gasol’s instrumental role in shutting down Joel Embiid in that epic seven-game series against the Sixers, the Raptors wouldn’t have made it past the second round. But Gasol’s value went beyond a single matchup.

“(He changed) our team’s sense of who we thought we could become,” Nurse said. “After we had him for a few games, we were like, ‘This guy’s good. He’s smart. He can pass.’ Everyone was like, ‘We’re better, and we can become really good.’ … A great leader and a tough competitor for this team.”

Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images

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