ESPN released — why we even care other than to stroke our own collective vanities is beyond me — the next block of players in their Top 100 list, this time doing so in little ten slot blocks as to provide maximum consumption and clicks.
We didn’t publish an article outlining their rankings of 50-31 because, well, there wasn’t a Raptor in sight. Nope. Not Jonas Valanciunas (whom SI ranked) nor Serge Ibaka (whom SI also ranked). It’s almost like they *gasp* forgot about half our team!
Tis never too late however! There is always 20-11 and 10-1 to parse!
I apologize ahead of time (even if it is too late) for my terse language and air of not-giving-two-F’s about anything ESPN does or says these days (I think they can answer that existential question themselves), but I do have a service to Raptor-related content, and as such, I’m here to discuss our O.G. (not that OG), Kyle Lowry.
21. Kyle Lowry (Last Year: 21)
Well, if it weren’t for ESPN reminding us how he ranked last season, I would have had a hell of a time finding their rankings from last season. Perhaps they were just that bad. Or even worse than they seem to be this year.
Royce Webb, like Ben Golliver, lavished Lowry with fluffy praise akin to someone whose family answering machine just received an unflattering message:
Lowry thrives in the shadows more than most stars, typical of players whose advanced metrics outpace their counting stats. Just like last year, he’s at No. 21, though RPM consistently puts him in the top 10. Even with DeRozan’s departure, Lowry is likely to play second fiddle to Kawhi Leonard, of course. But if the Raptors make the NBA Finals, look for Lowry to emerge from relative obscurity.
I have no idea what’s happening in Bristol, nor do I want to know these days, but at least they didn’t stir up the KLOE hive (not a cult). Did he just put the Raptors in the conversation of NBA Finals? THIS IS IT GUYS! WE MADE IT!
He also rightly mentions Lowry’s place among the best in the league in regard to his actual on court impact night-in and night-out, declaring Lowry a perennial top-ten player in terms of Real Plus-Minus. Webb is not one of the mainstream cats who fails to take into consideration external forces affecting players, but seems to understand the struggles Lowry faced in the three playoff runs previous to this past in May.
For what it’s worth, it’s refreshing to see a blurb on ESPN that not only praises Lowry for his yearly effectiveness, but also does not bring up shooting percentages from ages ago. Although, if I had one gripe, I personally think Lowry is a top-20 player in this league. But who’s splitting hairs here?
Normally there’d be at least a few other players to chat about in these articles, but since ESPN is sending us all to click-bait heaven day after day, I can talk about other stuff from better content creators, especially those on our site:
Firstly, you can catch the first batch of ESPN rankings written by site manager Daniel Reynolds. He at least got to cover more than one player.
Second up is a piece from our very own staff-writer Joshua Kern and his analysis of how well the bench mob will fare this upcoming season given the few tweaks it endured since last May.
And finally, enjoy the content provided within the monumental undertaking by the site’s Godfather and my white-man doppelganger, Sean Woodley, where he has taken it upon himself to rank every single player to ever put on a Raptors uniform (which is somewhere in the vicinity of two-hundred and twenty players.)
If you should read any arbitrary list this fall, this is an absolute must.