Article Written by Hudson Stewart (@hudson_stewart6)
Over the past 4 games, Kyle Lowry has struggled shooting the ball, and uncoincidentally, the Raptors have struggled over that stretch. Lowry had been playing some of the best basketball of his career up until recently, and considering how much he means to this team, his recent production is concerning.
Lowry sat out the game last Saturday in Cleveland with a back injury. Most people assumed it was as a precaution, because the Cavs aren’t very good, but maybe it was something more than that. In the game prior to him sitting out, as well as the three games following it, Lowry has had some ugly shooting nights. He still leads the NBA in assists per game, with 10.1 per game, but his scoring ability hasn’t been the same since the game in Memphis on November 27th.
Since that win in Memphis, Lowry has put up the following stat-lines: 10 points on 4/14 shooting, 5 points on 1/7 shooting, 7 points on 2/8 shooting, and 3 points on 1/8 shooting. There have also been moments where Lowry has looked passive to shoot the ball because of a cold night from the field. For example, during the last play of the game on Friday night against the Nets, Lowry could’ve shot the ball, but instead he passed it to Fred VanVleet who ended up missing the potential game-winner.
The Raptors usually rest Kawhi Leonard for one of the games in a back-to-back, and they keep saying that he’s getting close to playing in both games. So maybe when that happens, they should rest Lowry in one of the two games. Lowry is 32 years old, so he could probably use a rest day anyway. Especially when you look at his recent struggles, I would definitely give Lowry a few games off in order to rest and regroup.
The Raptors are pretty deep at point guard with Delon Wright and Fred VanVleet both available to start if Lowry were to sit. Lowry’s obviously better than both of them, but I’d be fine with giving one of those guys a start or two if it means Lowry gets more rest over the course of a long season.
Looking at the upcoming schedule for the Raptors, it’s going to be a very tough stretch. They play Milwaukee at home tonight before heading out West to play teams like the Clippers, Warriors, Nuggets, and Trail Blazers. Those will be tough games to win regardless, but they’ll be even harder to win if Kyle Lowry continues to score in the single digits. We know Kawhi will show up to those games, but he’s going to need some help if the Raptors are going to have a successful week coming up.
I think Kyle Lowry will eventually get back to his early season form. I hope it’s just a cold shooting stretch and not a serious injury so that he’ll eventually just get hot and get his confidence back. Like I said earlier, he’s still sharing the ball enough to be an effective point guard, but now he’s got to start scoring himself and hitting the shots that we all know he can consistently make.
Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)