Lowry tough on Valanciunas
Old 01-15-2014, 08:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Lewenberg: Lowry's tough love for Valanciunas


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"He's kind of like a coach," Valanciunas said of Lowry after practice the day prior. He knows a lot, he tries to help everybody, especially me because I'm the young guy."Lowry has been as tough on the young centre as anyone in the Raptors organization and as such his fingerprints can be found all over the 21-year-old's continued development.

"He's been great," coach Dwane Casey told TSN.ca, speaking of Lowry and the leadership role he's taken with Valanciunas. "He has a way of getting on him but yet still he has a relationship with him that he can talk to him that way."Other people may not understand it but Kyle's done a great job of working with Jonas, letting him know what he needs to do. [He's] just been a great mentor to him.

That's been huge for Jonas."Both players are approaching the middle of their second season together in Toronto. Lowry was acquired in a trade from Houston in July of 2012, just around the same time Valanciunas - Toronto's fifth overall pick in 2011 - had arrived from Lithuania.After missing the bulk of training camp with injuries last season, both of their Raptor careers got off to shaky starts.

While Lowry struggled through injuries, fluctuating playing time and philosophical differences with the coaching staff, Valanciunas experienced the growing pains you would expect from a 20-year-old getting accustomed to his surroundings in a new country, in a new league.

Valanciunas has seen his playing time increase by five minutes per night in his second season; he's regularly on the court during crucial moments at the end of games and he is becoming more of a focal point in Toronto's offence. However, as both his coach and his point guard would tell you, he's far from a finished product.

He continues to make nightly mistakes - with his positioning, in the pick-and-roll game, and on defence, particularly as the help man - and Lowry is usually the first person to let him hear about it."Every time he messes up we talk about it," Lowry said. "I tell him what he did and then he fixes it and I congratulate him when he does it [right]."I think he has the skills and he has the heart and he has the right mentality to be one of the best bigs in the league," the Raptors' point guard continued.

"My constructive criticism is just tough, big brother love. I think the world of him, I think he can be so good [and] that's why I push him. I'm always going to be tough on him because I know how good he's going to be."Lowry, an eight-year NBA vet, is also coming into his own, playing the best basketball of his career and spearheading the Raptors' recent resurgence. "That's just coming from buying in if you ask me," former Raptors teammate Alan Anderson said of Lowry.

Most importantly - for a player that will be in the market for a new contract this summer - he is well on his way to shedding the reputation that has followed him like a dark cloud over the years."Kyle's showed he's been a positive leader," Casey said over the weekend. "I think that was the biggest question among coaches around the league, could he be a positive leader and be productive on the court."
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Old 01-15-2014, 08:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I really hope we find a way to keep Lowry at a good price.
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Old 01-15-2014, 08:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Its nice that Jonas has nice veteran influence like Lowry, Salmons, Derozan steering him the right way. However, his offense has been underwhelming in his sophmore (10.7 ppg) year. Jonas needs a big man coach (not Magloire) to take him to the next level.
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Old 01-15-2014, 08:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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10 ppg doesn't seem underwhelming imo. Seems right around where I pegged him for.
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Old 01-15-2014, 09:18 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by RAPMAN View Post
Its nice that Jonas has nice veteran influence like Lowry, Salmons, Derozan steering him the right way. However, his offense has been underwhelming in his sophmore (10.7 ppg) year. Jonas needs a big man coach (not Magloire) to take him to the next level.
Right now I think that it's more important to look at his FG% rather than his PPG. The team has enough ways to score (DD, Ross, Lowry, even PP, Salmons and Amir). He's not a focal point of the offense. We don't run any plays for him. His main job is to set good screens, roll to the hoop and attack the glass. At this point it's most important to him to be efficient with the touches that he does get and he's currently shooting above 50% from the field and over 75% from the free throw line.

He is still a bit raw on the offensive end and will need to improve but I"ve been fairly happy with what I've seen from him so far. I feel like he's actually more developed than I expected him to be at this point. He's got a soft touch around the hoop, good form on his shot, doesn't take many bad shots and makes pretty good decisions in general. That said, his footwork could improve and you likely need a good big man coach for that.
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Old 01-15-2014, 09:30 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Stonezz View Post
10 ppg doesn't seem underwhelming imo. Seems right around where I pegged him for.
Imo by the end of the season he'll be in the 12ppg/9rpg range which is pretty good.
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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It's good to hear that Lowry is taking on the leadership role and really helping JV. Hoping we resign him for a decent price once the season is over.
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:57 AM   #8 (permalink)
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It's great to see guys pushing each other. Masai framed this season in terms of growth, and he's gotten that in spades.
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:59 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by The Diamond Scorpion View Post
It's good to hear that Lowry is taking on the leadership role and really helping JV. Hoping we resign him for a decent price once the season is over.
I don't think he'd be showing such strong leadership if we was leaning to walk in F/A.
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Old 01-15-2014, 12:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I really liked this bit

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Occasionally combative, Lowry's fiery nature has often been misunderstood. The reality - which his teammates and coaches have come to accept and appreciate - is, he holds himself and everyone around him to an incredibly high standard. He is a fierce competitor with an unrelenting will to win.

Lowry is a strong personality, certainly not the first Casey has coached. The Raptors' coach worked with future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett in Minnesota and current Nets bench boss Jason Kidd in Dallas, but Lowry's leadership style reminds him of another hard-nosed point guard from his past.

"The guards that I've had, Gary Payton was one of the [toughest]," Casey said, having coached ‘The Glove' as an assistant in Seattle. "He would use some colourful words to talk with his teammates but they understood it, he had a relationship with [them], just like Kyle. Kyle reminds me so much of Gary in the fact that he can talk to players in a certain way that they understand because he has their respect and he has a relationship with them.
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