While he started getting his flowers as the greatest player in franchise history after he helped lead the Raptors to their first-ever NBA championship in 2019, it’s nice to see the six-time All-Star continue to get the credit he deserves as he makes the move to the Miami Heat.
The latest on that front came from his former head coach and current Detroit Pistons head coach Dwane Casey, who was only one year into his successful seven-year stint with Toronto when it acquired Lowry via trade with the Houston Rockets.
Casey preached Lowry’s growth as a person and player, going from someone who was just another player in the league to a multi-time All-Star.
“When he first came to Toronto, he was almost out of the league. We got him when Houston was trying to get rid of him and Memphis had gotten rid of him,” Casey told SiriusXM NBA Radio at Summer League.
“Kyle came in and he was behind José Calderón. Poor José. He beat José every day. He took the spot. And everything Kyle Lowry has gotten, he has made it. He has earned it. He is a scrapper. He is what you want your point guards to be about. He’s a winner. He has ‘it’ as a leader,” Casey continued.
Calderón was a viable starting point guard in the league and became the Raptors’ all-time assist leader. Lowry eventually passed Calderón for that title, tallying a franchise-record 4,277 assists during his time in Toronto. Along with that, Lowry is also the franchise’s all-time leader in steals, 3-pointers made and triple-doubles, while ranking second to DeMar DeRozan in points, games played and minutes played.
“His jersey should go up in Toronto because he made that program what it is,” Casey said.
“Our whole identity changed once he came on the scene. And it wasn’t easy, but he kept getting better. He brought something new to the table every year.
“One year, he lost a ton of weight, he came back, I didn’t even recognize him. He has ‘it.’ And it wasn’t all lovey-dovey; we hit heads, but we both grew from it.”
Under Casey, Lowry was named an All-Star four times – the first four selections of his career. Playing alongside DeRozan, they were largely responsible for the most successful years in franchise history at the time, including the team’s first-ever trip to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2016 and the winningest regular season with a 59-23 record in 2018.
“I told him – I talked to him the other night – I wish I knew what I know now when I first had him, you know, as far as, how to approach him and vice versa,” Casey said of their relationship.
“It’s about growth. He’s grown as a man. He’s matured. And once he got his place in the league, he relaxed a little bit and allowed himself to be coached a little bit more. So it’s all about maturity and growth. And he’s a great example to any young man out there that is kind of behind the 8-ball to make it in the league.”
Lowry may be moving on to Miami, but he’ll be a part of Toronto forever.
You can find the full clip of Casey speaking on Lowry below.
“He’s what you want your point guards to be about. He’s a winner.”
– SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) August 11, 2021
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