The Affect Kyle Lowry’s Injury Could Have On The Toronto Raptors
On Tuesday morning, Toronto Raptor’s starting point guard Kyle Lowry underwent surgery on his left wrist to remove loose bodies. Lowry is now expected to miss a big chuck of the remaining season if not all of the remaining season. The Raptors are currently placed at 4th in the Eastern Conference standings, which isn’t the worst spot to be at by far. But the Eastern Conference is tight. A week from now the standings in the East could look completely different. Losing Kyle Lowry for an extended amount of time can potentially drop the Raptors from 4th place to maybe 6th or 7th if they go on a bad losing streak.
Kyle Lowry carries great responsibility for the Raptors, especially on the offensive end. Toronto ranks 5th in points per game with 108.2. A big reason for this is because of how good Lowry is playing. Kyle Lowry leads the Toronto Raptors in 3-point shooting with 41.7% on 7.9 attempts. Lowry is averaging 22.8 points. So it’s safe to say that much of his scoring comes from beyond the arc. Having a guy that can stretch the floor that well, is a blessing for any team. The Toronto Raptors rank 9th in 3-point percentage, and 22nd in 3-point attempts with 24.7. This means that Toronto as a whole doesn’t take many 3-point shots. But the shots they do take are smart.
The Raptors may lose confident in their ability to shoot from long range without Kyle Lowry. Yes, DeMar Derozen’s midrange is one of the deadliest shots in the NBA. But Derozen’s midrange won’t substitute for a high volume, high percentage 3 shooter in Lowry. Not only is Lowry a proficient 3-point shooter, but he’s also super-efficient around the basket. 18.6% of Lowry’s shots come from 0-3 feet. He shoots 66.7% from that range. Fouling Lowry won’t slow him down either. He shoots 82.6% from the free throw line on 6.1 attempts. The Raptors rank 6th in free throw percentage with 80.2%.
The loss of Lowry may not make a huge difference at the line, but without the threat of Lowry’s 3-pointer defenses can play a little more relaxed at the perimeter and prevent Toronto from trying to drive to the hole. Because Lowry is so efficient offensively, defenders pay a great amount of attention to him. This gives other players outside of DeMar Derozen a chance to shine by Lowry either kicking out when he penetrates, or passing out of double teams. Lowry averages 6.9 assists. So he’s not ball hog by any means. His Real Plus-Minus is 6.26.
On defense, Lowry can be a stingy defender at times. So Toronto’s overall defense could take a leap down if Corey Joseph doesn’t make an impact on that end of the ball. Luckily for the Raptors, DeMar Derozen can take over games if need be. But Toronto has some games left on their schedule that they could easily lose if they aren’t careful. The Raptors play Cleveland, Pacers three times, the Wizards, Atlanta, Chicago, and Detroit. Those are all playoff teams. Some of their opponents are also in contention of getting a playoff spot. So the Raptors have to keep their foot on the gas and not become comfortable. Toronto will be praying for a quick recovery from Kyle Lowry.