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The Heat are 6-1 in games Kyle Lowry doesn’t play. Why is that?

6-1 when Lowry doesn’t play and 17-19 when Lowry starts

NBA: Miami Heat at Los Angeles Clippers Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

When former all-star Kyle Lowry was brought into the Miami Heat via sign and trade in the summer of 2021, Heat Nation was very excited. At the time, Lowry was coming off a season in Toronto averaging 17.2 PPG, 7.3 APG, 5.4 RPG, on 43.6% shooting and 39.6% from 3 point range. Aside from just the stats, the leadership and championship experience sounded lucrative to Heat brass. Along with the very close relationship with franchise player Jimmy Butler.

Last year, the Lowry impact seemed promising. Especially after a true underdog season where Miami finished 1st place in the Eastern Conference. Lowry’s stats went down a tad bit in last season, but because of the success of the team with him in the line up nobody blinked an eye about that. It was shown that his impact goes beyond the box score, and even earned the nickname “QB1” pretty fast.

Even with the success last season brought, Lowry missed some crucial time in both the regular season and playoffs. He missed a decent stretch of games due to personal reasons, but the bigger concern was come playoff time where he missed another stretch from a hamstring injury. Heat Nation had to give him credit though, because he rushed the recovery stages of that injury to force his way back into the lineup.

He had a couple strong performances in the ECF against Boston, even when he looked hobbled. Lowry wasn’t 100% by any means, but that didn’t keep him from being out on the court competing with his team. The heart and grit was definitely there, which embodies Heat culture and what this organization looks for. Come off-season, it was rumored that Lowry lost weight and was ready for a healthy comeback season.

Thats where things started to become a bit of an issue. Lowry didn’t lose as much weight as people originally thought from leaked pictures during the summer.

More importantly, after the slight reduction in his all around stats last season, those same stats have dropped significantly more this season. He’s currently putting up an underwhelming 13.1 PPG, 5.6 APG, 4.4 RPG on 39.8% shooting and 33.6% from three. Some of those numbers are his lowest since his rookie season in 2006. After agreeing to make $28M a year for 3 years in summer of 2021, this is not what you expect especially from a player of his caliber.

Gabe Vincent’s career game last night against the Bucks had Heat fans wondering; if this is what Gabe’s potential looks like, what does this mean for Lowry?

3-0 when Gabe starts, 6-1 when Lowry doesn’t play, and 17-19 when Lowry starts. The reason for this has to come down to efficiency and defense. Lowry’s stats aren’t THAT bad across the board, but the thing’s that pop out the most is the efficiency percentages. 39.8% from the field and 33.6% from downtown from a usually great 3 point shooter isn’t going to cut it.

Not to mention that he just simply looks a step slower on defense. This could be because of age for sure, but once again it’s just not what you expect from a player like Lowry who for a long time had a reputation of being a great defender. He’s not getting nearly as many of his charge calls as he used to in the past. Which was a skill that made him stand out on the defensive end.

Last night showed just how important it is to be efficient in today’s game, especially from a starting point guard. The point guard position is very important to any team, and can set the tone for each night as the leader and offense orchestrater. Lowry being unable to make shots at a good rate is a problem for this team. Seeing a different point guard in Gabe Vincent hitting his shots at a nice clip showed that Miami can win games that way.

There’s been rumors and reports that Heat staff is not happy with the downfall in Lowry’s numbers, and could possibly be willing to move him at the deadline. Considering the money he is getting paid, I don’t blame them. Whether the reports are true or not is remained to be seen.

Lowry has had some vintage performances over the course of his time with Miami and we all know what he is capable of. He’s even hit some big time shots and made big memorable plays. It’s just the consistency and efficiency on both ends of the floor that’s causing these discussions to happen.

Hopefully he can get back into a groove for the line up healthy and rejuvenated to make another playoff push, because the success of a $28M man on the roster is very important.