Kyle Lowry appeared on the Pull Up with CJ McCollum podcast to discuss his career and his move from the Toronto Raptors to the Miami Heat. In the interview, Lowry talked about Kawhi Leonard taking on the role of the first option, the go-to scorer in their one year together — one that ended with a championship.
"Kawhi rubbed people the wrong way because of how he operates. He’s like, 'Yo, give me the ball. I’ma get it done.'" You might be like, 'Kawhi, I'm open,' But he's like, 'I’m gonna get this bucket.'" You understand he’s the best player. Big dog gotta eat."— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) September 2, 2021
Kyle Lowry on Kawhi pic.twitter.com/CCmmypuXuc
Lowry’s recounting of his experience with Leonard could lead Heat fans to wonder if that’s something that’s missing from this team. During Miami’s run to the Finals in 2020, a different player led the team in scoring in each of the first three rounds. Goran Dragic led the Heat in the first round, Jimmy Butler in the second and Bam Adebayo in the Eastern Conference Finals.
After Dragic and Adebayo suffered injuries in Game 1 of the Finals, Butler had to take on the role of the go-to scorer. He performed the job admirably well, going toe-to-toe with LeBron James.
In the 2020 NBA Finals...— Rohan Nadkarni (@RohanNadkarni) October 10, 2020
But still, one can’t help but think that Butler would rather be someone who scores 15-20 points per game, set teammates up and defend the opposing team’s best player. In other words, a second banana instead of a first option.
At another point in the interview, Lowry said that Miami’s “championship-or-bust” mentality led him to sign with the Heat. If the Heat win the championship this season, they won’t win with a ball-dominant leader like LeBron James or Kevin Durant. A Miami championship would resemble the more egalitarian offenses of the San Antonio Spurs or the 2004 Detroit Pistons, with three or four players capable of dominating a game instead of one or two.