In 2019 Kyle Lowry was on top of the world. What seemed like millions of Canadians surrounded the Raptors OVO Championship parade bus as it drove through Toronto, screaming for the team that finally dethroned the juggernaut Warriors. Lowry clutched the Larry O’Brien trophy and smiled as he looked over the sea of fans. When asked about the future, Lowry said to Sports Illustrated:
“My goal is to keep winning championships.” “Get another, then another. I know I can play this game at a high level for a few more years. I want to continue to be a winner.”
After losing Kawhi Leonard in Free Agency the Raptors were in basketball purgatory (too good to tank, but not good enough to be a true contender). The Heat have been here before, so fans know the feeling. This led to one season where the Raps fell short in the Bubble and last season where they didn’t clinch the playoffs. Still, the Raptors are in a great position for the future (they have some tantalizing young talent), but not ready to win now - which is why Kyle Lowry who is still playing at an elite level is suiting up in a different shade of black and red this season for the Miami Heat.
Lowry is 35 years old, and his best seasons might be behind him, but it’s those last few seasons in Toronto that show why he’ll be a force with the Miami Heat.
Kyle Lowry is an efficient player. According to Cleaning the Glass, Lowry’s Effective Field Goal Percentage last season was 55% putting him just behind James Harden in the 74th percentile. When compared to Goran Dragic (51.9%) who he’s replacing, Jimmy Butler (51.8%), or Tyler Herro (52%) he quickly becomes one of the most efficient players on the team. A lot of Lowry’s efficiency comes from his shot selection. Lowry is a great three-point shooter (40% from three) with 47% of his attempts coming from non-corner threes, still, he’s able to get into corner threes as well where he shoots 46%. Though he doesn’t slash too often, his finishing ability is excellent as he ranks just behind Chris Paul with a 64% field goal percentage at the rim. We’ve already seen a little bit of this shot selection in pre-season.
Lowry is also a gifted passer, and Miami was in desperate need of a true floor general. In the preseason Lowry is averaging 7.3 assists. He’s already an immediate fit with Bam Adebayo, and it’s resulting in plays like this:
This isn’t new for Lowry who has consistently averaged 6.2 assists per game. As per Cleaning the Glass, last season Lowry assisted on 31% of his teammates made shots, just two spots below Ja Morant and LaMelo Ball. When the Raptors won the championship he assisted on 32.9% vaulting him into the 87th percentile. Put simply, Lowry helps his teammates score.
On defense, Lowry is still solid, but one area where Kyle Lowry is underrated is in his rebounding. He’s a fantastic rebounder with a career average of On defense Lowry ranks in the 85th percentile in defensive rebounds and in the 87th in rebounds coming from missed foul shots per CTG. It’s those little things that can quickly lead to transition scores and help make an offense dangerous. Here’s Lowry’s philosophy on grabbing boards in his own words:
The biggest risk, that potentially comes with the highest reward is Lowry’s aggressiveness. Lowry is prone to injuries with many coming from him fighting for rebounds. He already draws 0.43 charges per game (he drew 20 last year) and ranked 6th in deflections per game last season. Lowry only played 33 games last season, and less than 70 in the two seasons before that. It’s these types of plays that make losing Lowry to various injuries a genuine fear, but also what makes him a fantastic player and one that fits the Heat “Culture” so well.
With two more pre-season games to go, it’s unclear how much Kyle Lowry we’ll see but it’s clear he’s meshing well and that his style fits. Lowry has the potential to bring so much to the Heat this season, and the tools to evolve his game for multiple elite seasons. In Toronto, he showed how much heart and talent it takes to get a ring, it’s a little warmer in Florida, but there’s no doubt that fire and will to win remain.