The NBA is full of talent, personality and suspense. During the offseason, It’s easy to forget how wonderful the league can be. So, I’ve assembled 67 Reasons I’m Excited For Next Season (67RIEFNS). They’ll be presented in no particular order.
Lineups with two point guards have become increasingly common, and I think teams should use them more often. Obviously the sample is skewed, because only teams that believe it will work play two point guards together at once, but the success rate is ridiculously high. We haven’t hit equilibrium yet. There are more teams with unused two-point-guard lineups that would benefit from unleashing the attack.
One of my favorite two-point-guard backcourts features Kyle Lowry and Greivis Vasquez in Toronto, and I feared we’d seen the last of it. Both players were free agents this summer with the potential to move on. Lowry had high-profile suitors, including the Heat and Rockets, but he re-signed relatively quickly – and probably gave up money in the process. That gave the Raptors flexibility to make Vasquez a healthy offer, which he accepted.
It didn’t take long for Lowry and Vasquez, acquired last year in the mid-season Rudy Gay trade, to click. Both had been around the league long enough to find places to thrive – and then get traded. Perhaps – as Vasquez said – they shared an unspoken bond before ever sharing a locker room.
Either way, the Raptors benefited. Their offensive rating (105.8 to 111.1) and defensive rating (102.4 to 96.2) improved from overall to when Lowry and Vasquez shared the court.
Defensively, the 6-foot-6 Vasquez fared a little better against shooting guards than he typically does against point guards, which made Toronto nominally better on that end. But it was much more exciting when Lowry switched onto shooting guards, who weren’t used to such an aggressive ballhawk pressuring them.
What I particularly enjoy about the Lowry-Vasquez tandem is how they make their frontcourt better. Amir Johnson runs pick-and-roll after pick-and-roll, and Jonas Valanciunas can post up after receiving an entry pass from both sides of the floor. The point-guard pair really excels within a team framework.
With Lowry and Vasquez, the Raptors had – have – a good thing going.