The Raptors did not win the Steve Nash sweepstakes, but it looks like they have landed a very good and underrated point guard. At least for next season.
The Raptors reportedly have reached a deal for Rockets point guard Kyle Lowry, reports Marc Stein at ESPN. The trade would be for a future first-round pick, and David Aldridge of NBA.com is saying that it is required to be a lottery pick. Which is the reverse of the traditional lottery-protected pick.
But Lowry would be worth it … if they can keep him.
Lowry was a borderline All-Star point guard at the start of last season, and on the year he averaged 14.3 points and 6.6 assists per game with a PER of 18.9. But he went down with an injury and Goran Dragic almost Wally Pipped him, playing so well Lowry never got his regular minutes and rotation back. Which led to issues between Lowry and coach Kevin McHale and Lowry asking to be shipped out of Houston.
With Lowry and incoming rookie Terrence Ross and last year’s pick Jonas Valanciunas, and with coach Dwane Casey getting Toronto to actually play defense last season, the Raptors become an interesting team. Likely not a playoff team, but interesting. And the Raptors will get the full effort from Lowry because he is a free agent next summer.
The question is can the Raptors keep him. Otherwise they may miss this future lottery pick as they rebuild.
As for Houston… who needs a point guard? Dragic is headed to the Suns, Lowry is a Raptor and while they are making an offer to Jeremy Lin the Knicks will match.
Still, I like what Houston is doing in this sense — they were stuck in the NBA’s middle ground, fighting for a late playoff spot and getting an okay pick every year. Even if they have to go backward to go forward, they are shaking themselves out of that rut.