Throughout the offseason, we’ll be counting down the Top 50 players in the NBA from 50 to 1. Who will just miss the cut? Which names do you expect to see? Regardless, you’ll be able to find them all right here.
Why He’s Great: Kyle Lowry averaged the most points per game of his entire career last season. It was his 11th year in the NBA. Who the hell breaks their career scoring record in their 11th season? Bill Bradley is in the Hall of Fame and he didn’t even PLAY 11 seasons.
It wasn’t a matter of volume either. Lowry also had the highest field goal percentage and three-point percentage of his career last season as well. His effective field goal percentage of 56.9 percent was over four points higher than any other season he’d had. He shot an utterly ridiculous 68 percent within three feet of the basket.
Kyle Lowry was a decent rotation player when he came into the NBA. He just keeps getting better every single year. He reached All-Star status in 2015. And he might’ve even crossed the superstar threshold last season. How much further can this go? Is he going to continue to improve now after getting his big free agent contract? Lowry’s career is just so unique among great NBA guards. There’s no peak. He just keeps climbing higher and higher. If he reaches much further he might have claim to an even greater title: best point guard in the NBA.
Why He’s Below No. 22 (Mike Conley): Because I don’t believe that it’s humanly possible for Lowry to keep playing this well at this age with this many injuries. Every bit of tangible logic says that he’s headed for a decline in the near future. Mike Conley may only be one year younger, but he has less of a history of injuries and he has already maintained his level of play after getting a max contract. There’s no need to worry about him slowing down after cashing in.
Conley has also consistently been better in the playoffs. Lowry’s game, and Toronto’s as a team, has always been slow and methodical. Pound the rock, hope to get foul calls, that sort of thing. In the playoffs, when a team has more time to prepare and refs are holding their whistles, that style tends not to work. We’ve never really seen Lowry play egalitarian basketball. That’s what it would take for him to really succeed in the playoffs. We’ll see if he can find a way to maintain his level of play in the playoffs going forward.