Toronto Raptors: Kyle Lowry Takes Low Blow

Mar 10, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) talks to forward Serge Ibaka (9) and guard Cory Joseph (6) during a timeout against the Atlanta Hawks in the second quarter at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 10, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) talks to forward Serge Ibaka (9) and guard Cory Joseph (6) during a timeout against the Atlanta Hawks in the second quarter at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

The Toronto Raptors have won some games lately without Kyle Lowry. Big deal! Really, who have they played? The point guard is their MVP and they need him.

Who is Donovan Bennett? Well, he was a contributor on Sportsnet. His pieces and place on shows like Tim and Sid were enjoyable and his banter was admirable. Until now.

Bennett insisted the Toronto Raptors should part ways with Kyle Lowry. And then, an American publication published a like-article soon thereafter, suggesting the Raps have hit their ceiling and should package Lowry away on a sign-and-trade deal.

This is all ridiculous. I’m not gonna blast Bennett’s credits and character, or the US writers (in fact, I’ve liked Bennett), but have they not been watching the past few years where Lowry has been an All-Star and last year led the Raptors to the Eastern Conference Final?

I do understand the point that this is the time they could get the most for him, but it doesn’t matter. There’s only one player who gets the ball when the game is on the line for the Raptors: Lowry.

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Why? Because he’s the best they have and he has the guts to take the best shot available, and he’s made it many times.

Lowry is the Raptors’ engine! He’s their MVP. He makes them go. People want to argue that the Raps have won some games lately without him. 11-5 or something. Great — they need to show they can win without him. But really, who have they played?

“Bad opponents,” said Doug Smith, to explain this record. A great win against Boston, yes. However, that was the first game with Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker, a game that screamed rivalry and rally-game.

Who else? Who cares if they can beat Orlando, Philadelphia, and Detroit? These teams aren’t any good. It doesn’t matter if they beat them — they should.

How about other playoff teams? Toronto was embarrassed at home against Oklahoma City, and they lost at Atlanta. They need Lowry to beat these better teams (the Boston rally-rivalry game notwithstanding).

The team has played better defence since Lowry’s been gone, pundits say. But hey, that’s why the Raps brought in Ibaka and Tucker (with Ibaka rim-protecting, the glaring need).

Lowry’s absence has done nothing to improve their offence — or even affect it actually. When you bring in guys for defence, they give the team better defence. Obviously…

“With Lowry. With Ibaka at the five, Carroll at the four, with DeRozan-Tucker-Lowry? That’s as good as a defensive team as exists in the Eastern Conference,” Smith said on Tim and Sid.

The point I would like to make is that WHO’S BETTER at the point, running the team? Cory Joseph is good, but he’s not that good.

Delon Wright‘s size is tantalizing — especially on defence — but he’s not ready to lead. Or go with Lowry, someone who’s already enmeshed in the team and system. It seems simple.

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Dec 23, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) is congratulated by teammate guard DeMar DeRozan (10) after a basket in the fourth quarter against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The Toronto Raptors defeated the Utah Jazz 104-98. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports /

Can the Raptors keep all three of their new big three (Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and newly acquired  Ibaka) ? It’ll be tough, but Lowry had utmost confidence that GM (at the time) Masai Ujiri would re-sign DeRozan last year… and he did. Something tells me Ujiri wouldn’t have traded for Ibaka if he didn’t think he could lock him down for a contract after his current one expires.

Perhaps this deal was made for Ibaka with a similar understanding of an offseason contract for Lowry. The Raptors should pay the man for all he’s done with the team and for it, but perhaps there’s room for a sweetheart deal, or at least reasonable, to keep all three happy.

Point is, the Raptors must explore a healthy season, if not more, with this big three (Lowry is supposed to return before the season is done, just in time for playoffs– but that doesn’t give them much time to gel). They owe it to themselves.

Especially when all three are in their prime — it’s hard to adequately cover three players at once. This puts them over the top, at least equal to the Cleveland Cavaliers, at least a head above Boston, while the Washington Wizards are completely in the rear-view.

Smith: “Where are they going to spend the money elsewhere to improve what they already have? It makes no sense (to lose Lowry). If they lose him, they’re a different team… but no better.” Clearly, Doug is with it.

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Remember when the Dallas Mavericks let Steve Nash walk? He then went on to win two MVPs and probably should’ve won a third with the Phoenix Suns.

How bad would it hurt to see Lowry go to Philadelphia this offseason and make them instant contenders and rake in MVPs? I tell you what, the return would never possibly be half as great.

Dallas chose to ride with Dirk Nowitzki instead. You can liken him to DeRozan for the Raptors, but Nowitzki was always the number one option on his team to score, not Nash. Lowry is the number one option to score for Toronto, not DeRozan.

So for me, it’s a little difficult to make this comparison. Sure, DeRozan is capable — but with no Lowry? Everyone would know who’s shooting the ball. I’m not sure he could. Can he pass out of the double-team effectively? We don’t know.

And we shouldn’t have to find out. Lowry is Toronto’s life-blood. He’s our guy.

Next: When Will Lowry Return to Action?

What do you make of the suggestion the Raptors should trade Lowry? Can you justify making such a move to get to the next level, or do you believe he’s a vital cog in helping the team win a championship? Share your thoughts in the comments section.