Heat’s Kyle Lowry: ‘It’s a wasted year’

Kyle Lowry at 2022 NBA Playoffs - Boston Celtics v Miami Heat
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Rather than return to Toronto – where he established deep roots and became the greatest player in Raptors history – Kyle Lowry left for Miami in free agency last year. He certainly saw the Heat as closer to title contention, and they advanced to the Eastern Conference finals (two rounds deeper in the playoffs than the Raptors got).

But Miami lost Game 7 last night.

Lowry:

You don’t know how many more opportunities you will have to get back to this. And so for me, to be personally honest with you, it was a waste of a year. I only play to win championships. And so, it was fun, and I appreciate the guys, my teammates, and I appreciate the opportunity. But for me, it’s a waste of a year. You’re not playing for a championship, you’re not winning the championship, it’s a wasted year.

Lowry’s right: He can’t count on more opportunities to come so close to a title. He’s 36 years old, and his body was breaking down during this playoff run.

But the Heat won 53 games, the East’s best record. Miami beat the Hawks and 76ers in the playoffs. Counted out when down 3-2 to the Celtics in the conference finals, the Heat pulled off a gutsy win in Game 6 in Boston then nearly ended Game 7 with an incredible comeback.

Those are accomplishments worth celebrating. Not as much as a championship. But they’re not nothing.

Of course, Lowry holding himself to high standards is a big reason for his success. He has pushed himself through adversity and reaped the rewards (including the 2019 title with Toronto).

But just because he considers this a wasted year doesn’t mean the rest of can’t appreciate what Miami accomplished.

It’s also worth noting Lowry is far from alone in taking a championship-or-bust approach. That’s a big challenge the NBA faces with its forthcoming in-season tournament.