It really shouldn’t really surprise to anyone who closely follows the Toronto Raptors that Kyle Lowry has stepped up in DeMar DeRozan absence. DeRozan is the Raptors All-Star, but Lowry drives this team’s success.
Over the past three games Lowry has averaged 27 points, 7.3 assists and 2 steals as he tries to personally fill the gap left by DeRozan at both ends of the court. Heart and hustle have become Lowry’s calling card in Toronto and has been bringing it to another level without his backcourt partner.
From Elias (Dec 3, 2014):
Kyle Lowry scored 27 points and handed out 13 assists in the Raptors’ win in Sacramento. It’s the second time in Lowry’s career that he scored at least 27 points and 13 assists in a game. The only other player in Raptors history with two games like that is Damon Stoudemire who did it twice during the 1996-97 season.
The changing role for Lowry hasn’t come without it’s bumps. Lowry has been a volume shooter over the past three games, averaging 23.7 field goal attempts, however, he did find some compromise between his own shots and those of his teammates in that rare Raptors win in Sacramento.
If Lowry can keep Toronto winning at .500-pace or better during DeRozan’s absence and continue to find the balance between his own offense and creating for his teammates, the elusive All-Star nod that some argue he was snubbed once in Houston and again last year in Toronto will be very hard to deny this time around.
Where the Raptors are looking for the new young guns in Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas to step up their respective games with the opportunity provided without DeRozan on the court for an extended period of time, their success and the team’s in general is closely tied to how Lowry handles the changed landscape.
This is Lowry’s team and without DeRozan around, credit for continuing success will appropriately fall to him. Lowry’s push for the All-Star Game in New York is starting right now.
To be fair, both the voting fans and the coaches only have part of the current season to determine which players get to go to the All-Star game. A lot of these decisions are based on what happened in prior year(s) and Lowry’s 2012-2013 season did not have him in the All-Star conversation.
No team wants to test their depth, but every team is hit by illness or injury at some point and the Raptors are well equipped to deal with the usual assortment minor problems that are bound to happen. This year Toronto has the roster depth needed to keep a successful season on track.