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Miami Heat 2021-22 player review: Kyle Lowry

The Heat point guard looked like the missing piece, but personal issues and injuries kept him from achieving his true potential

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Miami Heat Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Today, we will be continuing our look at the Miami Heat’s player performances from the season with their starting point guard, Kyle Lowry.

Season overview (63 games):

  • 13.4 PPG
  • 4.5 RPG
  • 7.5 APG
  • 1.1 SPG
  • .44 field-goal percentage
  • .851 free-throw percentage
  • .60 true-shooting percentage
  • 15 player efficiency rating

Lowry had his worst shooting season since 2011 but stayed consistent with his playmaking. His role with the Heat was to be more of a conductor of the offense, and a strong defensive threat. When it worked he conducted the orchestra flawlessly. Nevertheless, a hamstring injury severely limited his postseason, making him a liability on both ends at times. Lowry also dealt with personal issues during the season missing many games, so we didn’t really get a season with Kyle at his best.

Best game?

I’m tempted to say the Philly game from November 2nd where 4 players including Kyle recorded 22+ points, but recency bias still consumes me so I have to say Game 6 vs the Celtics. While Jimmy will be remembered for his Atlas-like performance it’s easy to forget that Lowry put up 18 points, and 10 assists while hitting 4 threes. It was a bounce-back game, after putting up a Goose-Egg in Game 5 but a performance the Heat desperately needed. It’s worth remembering that Heat Nation effectively wrote Kyle off, as he looked like a shell of himself limping up and down the court. Lowry was an absolute warrior in this one, ignoring the pain to set his teammates up and score in big moments. In this one, Lowry showed the heart of a champion he’s renowned for in Toronto.

Numbers to note:

13.4 - That’s Kyle’s points per game this season. If you watched Kyle Lowry in a Raptor’s uniform over the past nine years then you’d know him as a point guard who not only excels in playmaking but scoring as well. Specifically from the three-point line. In fact, over the past few years, Lowry was attempting almost 8 threes a game. With the Heat, that regressed to 6 as did the frequency that the shots fell. Lowry wasn’t brought in to be a scorer in Miami, but in games where the Heat suffered severe scoring droughts his 2021 stat line of 17.2 points per game, would have been nicer than 13.4. Still, Lowry was efficient according to Cleaning the Glass, falling into the 92nd percentile with an effective shooting percentage of 56.2%.

7.5 - Lowry’s assists per game. Even with regression in shooting, there’s no denying Lowry’s dominance as a playmaker. Lowry effectively made his teammates better. There’s no better example than Bam Adebayo who averaged 19 points with Lowry, compared to 17 without. While that doesn’t seem like a big difference, those points add up at crucial moments. He also managed to do things like this:

69% - Lowry’s scoring at the rim. One of the few areas that Lowry improved this year was at the rim according to Cleaning the Glass, where he ranked at the top of the league in the 92nd percentile. As an undersized point guard, it’s rare to see a player convert so well in the paint, but like a human bowling ball, Lowry scored 69 percent of the time within 4 feet of the basket, his best numbers ever.

Memorable Moments

Defense - Lowry is a fearless defender, and while that sometimes can result in injury it also allowed him to come up huge in key moments. Whether it be charges, a steal, or a much-needed foul call (Lowry is an amazing actor) you could always depend on Lowry. Remember this moment from the Boston series? Lowry was barely a functional ball player and still made the hustle play. That’s the type of player he is.

What’s next?

Assuming Pat doesn’t flip Lowry in a massive deal, what’s next for Lowry is a healthy season. Riley made it clear that he wants Lowry in world-class shape and assuming his personal matters have been dealt with, I’d expect Lowry to be locked in come training camp. Lowry looks to remain Miami’s starter and quarterback. He remains unchallenged by backup, Gabe Vincent. However, with the expectation that he’ll at least miss some time, the Heat might elect for an additional point guard (think Dragic) to pick up some scoring slack.

Lowry is going to be 37, and father-time remains undefeated. He’s an ultimate competitor who felt like he wasted a title shot this season. Expect him to be motivated with Championship aspirations next season.