Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri never stopped believing in Kyle Lowry. After years of playoff disappointments, team and individual, the Raptors held on to the veteran point guard for what could be one final postseason run, but this time replacing DeMar DeRozan, Lowry’s best friend, with Kawhi Leonard. That gamble paid off, obviously, as Toronto prepares to host the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night.

During his press conference with the media on Wednesday, Ujiri did his best to explain why Lowry, always known for doing all the little things even when he’s struggling to score, inspires such hope and faith among he, the Raptors, and their fan base.

“There’s something about that guy that I just believe in,” he said of Lowry, per Yahoo Sports Canada. “He’s a winner. There’s no other way to put it.”

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Makes sense.

Lowry is an absolutely dogged defender, whether he’s chasing opposing point guards, switching onto should-be mismatches, or taking charges and swiping steals as a helper. He’s a canny screener, always a factor on the boards, and promotes a sense pace and movement in the halfcourt offensively Toronto easily lacks otherwise. Maybe most importantly, Lowry promotes the overall grit and tenacity that has slowly come to define these Raptors over the last two playoff rounds.

But fortunately for Toronto, he’s been productive and efficient during the postseason, too. Lowry is averaging 14.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 6.4 assists, and 1.2 steals per game in the playoffs with a solid 58.6 true shooting percentage – numbers that actually better reflect his substandard performance in the first round than his brilliance in the Eastern Conference Finals.