Toronto Raptors: Are Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan Overrated?


Heading into this NBA season, the Toronto Raptors and their fan base seem to be approaching this season with a cautious sense of optimism.

The Toronto Raptors are expected to make the playoffs, but the lack of parity around the league means that this city could hope for an Eastern Conference final at best, before being bounced by one of those NBA teams with true “superstars”.

More from Toronto Raptors

Now hear me out on this, I think any legitimate Raptors fan who follows the NBA knows the difference between a “star” and “superstar”.

A star shows flashes of brilliance, makes the all-star team a few times, may win a round or two in the playoffs by themselves, and maybe even a title with the right supporting cast, but all eleven guys behind him have to be legit. These guys are the Chris Bosh’s, the Dirk Nowitzki’s, the Scottie Pippens, and more recently, the Klay Thompson’s of the world.

October 5, 2015; San Jose, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) dribbles the basketball against Toronto Raptors guard

DeMar DeRozan

(10) during the third quarter in a preseason game at SAP Center. The Warriors defeated the Raptors 95-87. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

A superstar makes up for any team’s deficiencies, can drop 30 plus points, or even a triple-double on every team’s best defender, wins multiple titles, and generally is the reason said team has a true shot each year. Of course, we are talking about the Kobe Bryant’s, Allen Iverson’s, and Steve Nash’s, just to name a few.

Making the All-Star team for a superstar is an afterthought, even when their brightest days are behind them. They manage to raise everyone’s game around them.

So where does this leave Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan?

Generally, I define these two players as stars and I don’t even think they really have the potential to be superstars in this league, which is to say, I doubt they will ever be good enough to win an NBA title unless they have a legitimate lineup behind them.

They are really more like the current Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade without the LeBron James. They have a shot to go all the way, but they will need all the help that Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic, Justise Winslow, and Loul Deng can muster.

Back to Lowry and DeRozan, though. Based on general perception, does that make them overrated?

Well that entirely depends on what you expect from them.

Both of these players are in the dog days of their careers, if either of them is going to take the next step, they will most certainly need to do so in the next year or two. Otherwise, they are going to be what they are: good, but not good enough to beat LeBron James and Cleveland.

Whether we like or not, all roads to an NBA title go through the I-90 to that city, and that man, for the rest of Lowry and DeRozan’s time with the Raptors.

Lowry especially falls in this category.

He will be turning 30 near the end of this season and likely will slowly, but surely, regress physically unless he continues to stay in the impressive shape that he has attained over the course of this offseason.

Mar 4, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) gets around Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) at the Air Canada Centre. Cleveland defeated Toronto 120-112. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

He is primed to take another step towards superstardom, and not a moment too soon, as the Raptors look to do the same in the playoffs.

DeRozan on the other hand, is only 26 years old and still has a few more years at his top physical condition.

If he hadn’t gotten hurt last season he would have made the All-Star Game for the second straight year, as he continues to embrace an attack the rim mentality that has earned him respect from officials.

To call either of these players overrated right now would have no basis in the regular season. They both have shown they can be stars in this league and might even be able to get over the hump and deep into the playoffs with the Raptors either this season or next.

But if they continue to break down during the post season like they did last year, then the rumblings of “overrated” might slowly start to seep into the consciousness of Toronto Raptors‘ fans everywhere.

They have a mildly upgraded team from last year, with legitimate alternate scoring options, and above all else, winning will ultimately determine if the tag “overrated” is ever worth placing on them.

In the NBA, you’re overrated, or underappreciated, until you win rings. Just ask LeBron.

That really is the only stat that truly counts in such a superstar driven league.

Next: Breaking Down the Raptors Schedule

More from Tip of the Tower