Stop the Ridiculous Kyle Lowry Slander: Four Reasons New Heat Guard Is A Massive Upgrade Over Goran Dragic
Two years. It’s been two years since Kyle Lowry (now a member of the Miami Heat) and the Toronto Raptors won their first championship. Two years since Lowry put on a clinical Game 6 performance to seal the championship in front of the Warriors home crowd. And yet, time and time again… people seem to forget just how great Lowry is.
Case in point: this new anonymous scout’s report on the Miami Heat. He opens up with this sentence:
“Everybody is excited about Kyle Lowry, but is he that big of an upgrade over Goran Dragić?”
Wow. No disrespect to Dragic, who is a hell of a player in his own right. He was absolutely instrumental in the Heat’s Finals run in 2020. But to say that Lowry isn’t not much of an upgrade over Dragic just feels wrong.
Lowry and Dragic have similar stats, for the most part. Last season, Lowry averaged 17.2 points per game, while Dragic scored 13.4 coming off the bench. What makes Lowry so much better for the Heat, though, is his playmaking ability. In his time with the Raptors, Lowry was consistently one of the assist leaders in the NBA. Last season, he averaged 7.3 assists per game, which would’ve been in the top 10.
Lowry also has a knack of making his bigs look good. Raptors fans know how K-Low made guys like Bismack Biyombo and Lucas Noguiera look good on offense. With two elite bigs at his disposal in ’19-’20, Lowry was just magnificent in the PnR, being in the 88th percentile when it comes to running pick-and-rolls. That alone makes him an upgrade over Dragic for the Heat, as he can better utilize Bam Adebayo’s skillset as a roll man.
But wait, there’s more! Lowry’s biggest advantage over Goran Dragic (and what makes me believe he’s a significant upgrade over the former Heat PG) is his defense. His defensive metrics aren’t eye-popping: he averages 1.3 steals per game and 0.3 blocks in his career. But the eye test shows Lowry’s impact on defense can’t be seen in the statistics. The new Heat PG is always at the right place at the right time, whether it’s by drawing a charge or helping at opportune moments. He also can’t easily be abused on switches, which will come in handy for the Heat come playoff time.
Finally, Lowry allows the Heat stars to play their natural roles. Without a true point guard last season, Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Tyler Herro were forced to handle playmaking duties. They’re all very capable playmakers, but having to think about both scoring and making sure everyone is getting their touches will take a toll on their performance. With Lowry in the fold, the Heat stars can rest easy knowing that there’s someone there to set the table for them.