It’s not hard to pin down the dominant story line of the Raptors season. A 4-15 record pretty well drowns everything else out. But amidst the flurry of agonizingly close losses you will find a one memorable performance after another from guard Kyle Lowry.
Lowry is assembling the beginnings of an astonishing regular season. He had 34 points and 11 assists in the Raptors loss to Sacramento, Thursday.
A cursory study of Lowry’s numbers stacked up against those of the league’s best point guards reveals the beginning of one of the best seasons ever by a Raptor at the one.
With Steve Nash back for only two games and Derrick Rose sidelined by injury, there are more or less half a dozen dominant point guards.
They are led by Chris Paul (LAC) and in some order – let’s go alphabetical – you have Lowry, Tony Parker (SA), Rajon Rondo (BOS), Russell Westbrook (OKC) and Deron Williams (BRK).
Lowry’s 18.3 points a game trails only that of Westbrook who has thrown up 20.9 points a night.
He is sixth in the group for assists with six a game, a figure dwarfed by Rondo’s spectacular 12.8 helpers a night. Still you get the feeling passing the ball to Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett or in Paul’s case Blake Griffin or Jamal Crawford would boost any point guard’s assist total.
What Lowry’s numbers show is a high scoring guard who competes under the basket. Lowry’s 5.7 boards are significantly higher than the 4.9 rebounds a night turned in by runner-up Westbrook. Lowry is twice as likely to come down with a rebound than Parker or Paul.
Lowry is third in turnovers committed per game, fourth in steals and fourth in overall efficiency rating with an aggregate of 21.2.
Hold on to that efficiency rating for a second.
If you round up the best seasons turned in by Raptor point guards, you winnow the list down to four. Any one of those four could be turned in by the generally excellent play of Jose Calderon. While Calderon’s well-documented difficulties in guarding top guards doesn’t show up in end of season totals, his sound decision making and excellent shooting do.
The top four seasons turned in by a Raptors point guard are Damon Stoudamire’s sophomore campaign in 1996-1997, Mark Jackson’s stellar abbreviated 2000-2001 season, Alvin Williams’ 2001-2002 year and Calderon’s exceptional 2007-2008.
Of those, only Stoudamire scored more: 20.2 points to Lowry’s 18.3. Lowry’s middling assist total put him fourth in the group of five but his rebounding numbers were the best of the bunch as was his efficiency rating.
Put it all together and what do you have?
Well, first, an incomplete sampling. Lowry will have to maintain his pace to build a case as the author of the best season by a point guard in the club’s history. That said, given the reins of the team, Lowry has delivered about as well as the league’s highest-profile point guards.