07-23-2012, 10:43 AM
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Casey and Lowry click in Toronto
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Lowry, Casey Click in Toronto: It didn’t take long for Kyle Lowry and Dwane Casey to start preparing for next season. During the Las Vegas Summer League, Lowry and Casey were sitting courtside, going over plays and breaking down the team’s personnel. The Toronto Raptors’ point guard and head coach have known each other for several years, and they’re looking forward to working together this season.
The Raptors acquired Lowry from the Houston Rockets earlier this month in exchange for Gary Forbes and a protected future first-round pick. Casey, who is a defensive-minded coach, couldn’t have been happier with the move. The 26-year-old point guard is known for his tenacious defense and he’s coming off a career-year that saw him average 14.3 points, 6.6 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.6 steals. Casey believes that Lowry will fit right in with the Raptors.
“I was excited,” Casey said. “Kyle represents everything that I’ve been preaching and he fits the culture that we’ve started in Toronto. I was excited and happy. He’s a young man who exemplifies our style of play with his toughness and grittiness. He has made himself into an excellent NBA player and he’s ready to take the next step and reach that next level. I feel he’s one of the elite point guards in the league.”
“I just have to prove it and show that he’s right,” Lowry said in response to Casey’s praise. “That’s my goal. My goal is to make our team better and do the best I can possibly do. I want to push us to the limit and make the playoffs this year.”
Lowry’s transition should be smooth, especially since Casey is already starting to bring him up to speed.
“It won’t take long,” Lowry said of acclimating to his new team. “He’s a great coach and he’s going to make sure I get it and make sure we all get it. I’m the leader of the team and I’m just going to be out there doing what I do. It’s not going to take me long at all. We talked about some sets already and they’re not too difficult. You just have to go out there and executive them.”
Casey is already getting excited about how Lowry will change Toronto’s defensive approach.
“It’s a great plus for us,” Casey said. “Now, we don’t have to commit a second big in our pick-and-roll coverage and we can have more one-on-one coverage. I can say, ‘Kyle, you guard your guy. Landry (Fields), you guard your guy.’ We have a lot of guys who can stay home and who don’t need quick help. That’s a huge plus. His leadership is going to be huge for us too, setting the tone for everybody else.”
During his stint with the Houston Rockets, Lowry didn’t get along with head coach Kevin McHale. The two men butted heads, culminating in Lowry publically criticizing McHale and essentially calling for him to be fired. In Toronto, Lowry won’t have similar issues since he and Casey are on the same page and have a strong relationship.
“I trust Kyle,” Casey said. “Not to say that I don’t trust Jose (Calderon), but I’ve known Kyle longer so there’s a tremendous amount of trust and respect that goes both ways. That’s huge, that line of communication. I want to have that connection with my point guards and it’s there. That’s something that goes a long way in a relationship.”
“Is it going to be hunky-dory all the time? No. We’ll agree to disagree a lot,” Casey said with a smile.
“And he’s probably going to win most of the time,” Lowry said with a laugh.
“At the end of the day,” Casey said, “it’s about winning, doing whatever we can to help our team win.”