Hey guys how are you? My name is James and I'm new to the boards. I thought I'd introduce myself with one of my typical newspaper article type posts.
Real fast, just to give you an idea of my credibility on the subject, I've watched every game, start to finish, that Kyle Lowry has ever played in since college. He is my favorite player and you can see the extent of my fandom here
Getting to Know Kyle Lowry
Background and Injury History
- Lowry was selected 24th overall out of Villanova University in the 2006 draft by the Memphis Grizzlies. Ten games into his rookie season, he broke his wrist in a freak accident when he collided with Zydrunas Ilgauskas fighting for a loose ball. This was Lowry's second major injury in 3 years as he tore his ACL in the summer after his senior year of high school. In the most remarkable fashion, he fully recovered and was playing basketball again in six months. Lowry has remained injury free since then until the end of last season when he came down with a rare bacterial infection that sidelined him for over a month. Around the same time Lowry was dealing with a sports hernia that he recently underwent surgery for in the offseason.
Offensive Skill Set
- Lowry's main offensive weapon is his brain. Jay Wright called Lowry "The smartest player I've ever coached" and he is undoubtedly one of the most intelligent basketball players I've ever seen. He will always make the right play at the right time and gets the most out of his 6'0" frame. He will exploit mismatches, attack directly at players in foul trouble, and will always run the offense to a tee. He doesn't rely on exceptional individual talent to beat the defense. Instead, he works within his team's system to create situations where the defense becomes vulnerable and then attacks that vulnerability. You will hardly ever find yourself thinking "damn Kyle, that was so stupid".
- Although not blazing fast, he is unbelievably quick and has a first step good enough to get past any defender. When he gets inside the lane he will almost always look for contact. The easiest and most effective way to score is from the free throw line and Kyle shoots 80-85%. It is the highest percentage shot on the floor and it gets the other team in foul trouble. You will see Kyle draw more fouls, on both the offensive and defensive end then any other player you've ever seen. There have been multiple games where he has drawn 5+ non-shooting fouls in a quarter by himself.
- When Kyle is in the lane, he makes terrific passes to find his teammates easy looks. He rarely tries to force things in the half-court so he doesn't turn the ball over much. He is also very very very strong so it is hard to pry the ball away from him in traffic. In addition to being able to pass exceptionally well in the paint, Kyle's strength also allows him to absorb contact and finish amongst the trees.
- Kyles driving ability has been well complimented by his development of a three-point shot. Kyle is DEADLY from three. You look at his numbers and you think he is a good three point shooter. Wrong. He is a great three point shooter. I can't even tell you how many of of his three point attempts are end of quarter heaves and shots thrown up to beat the 24 second clock but I will say it is an abnormally high number. The best thing about Kyle's shot is that he actually has the ability to hit those 30 footers. If you ask around on the Rockets board, everyone on there will vouch for his knack for the buzzer beater. Kyle's rarely misses when his feet are set and he is shooting in rhythm.
- While Kyle is a more then serviceable offensive player, he does still have some weaknesses in his game. Kyle does not possess an in-between game. With him you are either getting a three or a layup attempt. There is no mid range game, stop and pops, or floaters. Has he taken these shots? Of course. Does he take them frequently and with confidence? No.
- Kyle also has a problem when it comes to creating contact. He is so physical that you expect to see contact when he goes into the lane. This causes him to only get 50% of the foul calls he should. He knows he is getting hammered but he is so strong and so adept at taking the punishment that the contact doesn't look like it warrants a call. You will always see Kyle jawing at the refs and I would say that most of the time it is a legit complaint.
- The last of Kyle problems comes on the pick and roll. Kyle has never played with a skilled big man or a veteran big man so take this with a grain of salt. It seems Kyle struggles to get around the help defender when a pick is set for him. While this could be something Kyle needs to work on or whether it is a result of playing with mainly rookie power forwards his entire career just know you will not confuse Kyle Lowry for Chris Paul or Steve Nash when it comes to the PnR.
- Kyle's best skill is his defense. He is a tenacious team defender. He always directs his ball handler towards the help and is quick in the passing lanes. He has the strongest hands I've ever seen for someone his size and gets an unhuman amount of deflections and knockaways. If a big ever drops the ball down by their waist around Kyle, he will take it. Kyle causes so many turnovers that don't show up on his individual stat line it is borderline ridiculous. Most of the time the average fan won't even see that Kyle is the reason for a turnover being created which is part of why he is so undervalued around the NBA.
- Kyle is also very good at taking charges. Two years ago he was second in the league in charges drawn by perimeter players only to Derek Fisher. His lateral quickness is second to none and you will see this in his pick and roll defense. He is great at fighting through screens and will always challenge any shot. There have also been multiple times where Kyle has successfully guarded two players at once because he is that quick to side to side. He has also stopped many 2-1 and 3-1 breaks by himself.
- His last defensive asset is that if he gets caught in a switch, he can handle his own when defending on the low block. He is so strong so he doesn't get bullied down there. He will either pull the chair on the opposing player or force them into a tough fade away after bouncing off hard contact. He also is very good at poking the ball away from bigger guys when stuck in defensive post positions.
- There isn't much to speak of here. He does do one thing I have noticed that gets him in trouble. Occasionally it is when he is defending the pick n roll but it is mainly in 1-1 defensive situations. Sometimes he will take a random step towards the ball handler who will then blow right by him as Kyle is moving forward. I'm not sure why he does that but you may notice it after a while.
- Since he excels at this at both the offensive and defensive end, I figured I would throw rebounding down here. Kyle is always in the top ten of all guards in rebounding and rebound rate. For point guards, he is always in the top four with Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo, and Derrick Rose. He always gets in there and fights and does anything possible to create possessions for his team.
- Kyle work ethic is also exceptional. He is described as a gym rat and is always working on his game. I'm sure this summer he was working on the mid-range game I was telling you he doesn't have.
- Kyle is a leader and a consummate team player. All he cares about is winning. If you ever listen to him in an interview he says all the right things. Its never about him and it's always about doing whatever necessary to get the W and make the playoffs.
- There were a few times last year where Kyle looked a bit dejected on the court. He was fighting through the sports hernia, didn't get along with Kevin McHale, and has beens tuck on the mediocrity treadmill all his career so I can kind of understand where it was coming from. A lot of his dejection was directed at his teammates. When I say that I don't meant hat he was running around pouting about how his teammates weren't good enough or anything like that. There were just a bunch of times where teams would go on runs or the Rockets would be in a mini losing streak and Kyle was the only one out there giving 100%. For example - If you are the help defender and Kyle funneled his man to where the help should be but nobody was there, he would turn around and look at that player with his palms open as if to say "Dude, where were you!?!"
I could probably write ten times as much as I just did but I felt a quick summary would be better off. If anyone has any questions about Kyle's game or wants me to elaborate more on anything I said, please feel free to ask.