Two weeks ago from my seat in section 305 I watched Kyle Lowry drop 40 points on the Timberwolves on 18 shots in a brisk 28 minutes.
Yes it was just pre-season, but it was a scoring display of outsmarting defenders, sharp shooting from beyond the arc and effortlessly getting to the bucket. What do those three attributes have in common? Lowry excelled in those areas prior to the All-Star game last season, and had his performance drop off in those same areas due to fatigue in the second half of the season.
This season will be a different story for Lowry, who will be the first Raptor to make an All-NBA Team since Bosh was on the second team in the 2006-07 season. Here's why:
The New Body
The transformation from being the "Baby Faced Assassin" began in the summer, when Kyle O'Quinn posted this photo on his instagram:
While there were some doubts whether or not Lowry was going to come into the season looking that slimmed down, all Raps fans fantasies came true on media day:
With this new physique, Lowry has regained the lift on his jump shots and has been reaching an extra gear of speed nobody knew he had within him. He's torn through the pre-season averaging 22 points and five assists per game while maintaining a ridiculous shooting percentage slash line of 52/53/82.
Besides fatigue playing a major factor in Lowry's decline in the second half of last season, the lack of solid offensive options (especially during DeRozan's absence) allowed teams to throw multiple defenders at him on almost every possession. This season should play out differently, as the increased depth will give Lowry multiple options while running the offence. Besides the DeRozan's iso's, Lowry has the ability to work a two man game with Valanciunas in the post, run pick'n'pops with Patterson and Luis Scola as well as being able to kick out to shooters off penetration. An intriguing possibility would be to roll with a Lowry-Joseph backcourt, as Joseph spotting up in one corner and DeMarre Carroll in another would be a lethal option off a drive and kick.
While Lowry will certainly get his, it's not at all crazy to say he should be 20 point, 8 assist player on any given night.
Lowry is a Top 5 NBA Point Guard
While some may scoff at this notion, point guard is a deep position around the league, but not exactly top heavy. While the usual suspects of Chris Paul, Steph Curry and Russell Westbrook are in the top tier, Lowry is just waiting to join the party from the second tier. If he's able to once again nab an All-Star spot and put up better numbers than John Wall over the entire season, Lowry will be hands down the best point guard in the East and deserving of a spot on the All-NBA third team.
The rest of the league needs to get ready, because Lowry comin'.