Kyle Lowry will be Key to Raptors Success this Coming Season
After being swept away by the Washington Wizards in four games during the opening round of the NBA playoffs, Toronto Raptors made their exit in the first round for the second-straight season. While this undoubtedly left a bad taste in the mouths of Raptors fans and players alike, it may well have been the driving force behind Kyle Lowry taking his game to the next level.
Admittedly, last season was not a bad one for Lowry. He averaged 17.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 6.8 assists, and he was placed on the list of NBA All-Stars for the first time in his career. Expectations have since soared for Lowry and Raptors ahead of the coming season (not least in the Bet365 NBA betting odds
!) as a result of his strong individual performance last year, but can he live up to the hype?
Named as the third best player in Toronto Raptors' history on Hoopshabit.com, Lowry has nonetheless been widely viewed as one of the lesser point guards in the NBA. However, while he has never been one to overwhelm opponents with his flashy skills, he has always been very efficient and ever able to get the job done.
Lowry is playing remarkably well in pre-season - a fact many put down to the weight he has lost. So far, he is playing beyond all expectations. The sight of star players having big games in preseason like this is unusual. What normally happens is that the stars of teams
will play for 20-25 minutes to work out any kinks in their game, before heading to the bench to rest their bodies.
Lowry isn't waiting for the season to start; in fact, he's been incredible. He has been averaging 30 points in 25 minutes per game, with 70% from the floor! His outstanding form is leading to frenzy in the media, with pundits asking "is this version of Kyle Lowry for real?"
While Lowry may not be able to maintain such devastating form, his performances and his newly lean frame are certainly signs that the coming NBA season could be his strongest yet.
While his offensive game is already in midseason form, his weight loss - and thus greater lateral quickness - will make a big difference from a defensive standpoint. The 29-year-old will now be more effective in keeping opposing point guards in front of him and will no longer rely so heavily on the defensive players behind him.
What does this mean for the Raptors as a team?
With the starting five of Lowry, DeRozan, Carroll, Patterson, and Valuncianas, the Raptors definitely have the players to improve on their 49-33 record from last season. If they make it to 50 wins, it will be the first time the Raptors have done so in their history.
Yet make no mistake; much of how the Raptors perform in regular season rests on the shoulders of Lowry. If he keeps playing the way he is,there's no reason why this shouldn't be a record-breaking season for Toronto.