Kyle Lowry ranks sixth in the NBA in win shares. He’s averaging 17.3 points, 7.8 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. He’s led the Raptors to the East’s third-best record.
He darn well should have been an All-Star.
But All-Star reserves are chosen by coaches, and coaches generally don’t like Lowry. He all too often has made life difficult for them.
That was particularly true after the Rockets replaced Rick Adelman with Kevin McHale, when Lowry played for the Rockets.
Looking back, the unraveling under McHale still festers with Lowry. He wishes he had been smarter, surer of himself, less combative in carving out his turf in the NBA. He wishes he had grown up sooner. For Lowry, reaching peace with these revelations gave him the chance to change everything with the Raptors.
“I would have done things differently in Houston,” Lowry says. “I really respected Kevin McHale. I wish I would have had an opportunity to play for him longer. The things he was teaching me, well, I didn’t understand right away. When you get away from someone, though, see it from the outside looking in, you go back and think, ‘Damn, I could’ve learned some more things from the guy.’
“I wanted to stay with Coach Adelman and needed to get over that. [McHale] came in with a different philosophy, and I wish I could’ve adapted to it quicker.”
“He never gave the coaching staff a chance,” assistant coach Kelvin Sampson told Yahoo Sports. “He wouldn’t let Kevin coach him. Kyle’s greatest strength is the bulldog in him, and when that bulldog is channeled the in right direction, he’s tough to handle on the floor. And when it isn’t, he’s tough to handle everywhere else.”
Before last season, the Rockets traded Lowry to Toronto, where he’s blossomed. As Wojnarowski lays out, Lowry has a lengthy list of people who’ve had strong influences on him:
- Massai Ujiri
- Chauncey Billups
- Daryl Morey
- Sam Hinkie
- Lowry’s 2-year-old son
It’s taken a while, but Lowry is finally channeling his competitiveness into more productive forms. Credit goes to everyone on that list, but most of all to Lowry. Reading Wojnarowski’s article, it’s clear Lowry has taken to heart how he must change.
Maybe this all a contract-year façade, a salary-driven excuse for temporarily keeping Lowry on his best behavior. But I want to believe Lowry has genuinely transformed himself. It would be a real success story.