The first round of the 2020-21 NBA playoffs is almost complete with the Mavericks and Clippers as the last remaining series to be decided. The biggest surprise, however, has been the poor performance by last year’s finalists in the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Miami Heat. Perhaps Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry might’ve helped them out a bit.
Although the Raptors can be happy that they held on to Lowry until the rest of the season, notable trade deadline blunders by the Lakers and Heat organization led to their downfall. They were missing a gritty veteran point guard who is a proven scorer, passer, and defender.
During the trade deadline, the Lakers and the Heat looked to make some moves to improve their roster and possibly reach the finals again this year. The main pursuit for both teams was Lowry and they had to give up some pieces to attain the veteran point guard.
However, the issue was what both teams were willing to give up. For the Lakers, the conversation included Dennis Schroder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but the Raptors wanted Talen Horton-Tucker in the mix. According to Shams Charania, that is where the discussion stalled. The Lakers simply weren’t prepared to include Horton-Tucker.
The Lakers could’ve used Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry.
As a result, the Lakers received little to no contribution from the point guard position in the first round against the Phoenix Suns. Horton-Tucker averaged 6.5 points per game and only had 2 assists all series long. Schroder, on the other hand, only averaged 2.8 assists per game and even though he was scoring. 40% from the field will not get it done in Phoenix.
Lowry would have outperformed both Schroder and Horton-Tucker if the Lakers pulled off the trade. Unfortunately for them, they lost the series, and the future in LA is doubtful for Schroder to say the least.
Lowry might not have won the series single-handedly, but it’s clear to see where he would have added value.
The Heat missed out on Kyle Lowry
Miami is also likely beating themselves up over not trading for Lowry. Miami was a top destination for the All-Time great Raptor, and it was the hesitation of not including Tyler Herro in the package which made the trade fall through.
In the series versus the Milwaukee Bucks, Herro averaged a measly 9.3 points per game and didn’t even make 30% of his shots. The Heat were high on Herro after his performance in last year’s postseason in the bubble, but he looked like a completely different player outside of the bubble.
The Lakers and Heat are in shoulda-woulda-coulda mode after seeing their team collapse in the first round. It is amazing how much a veteran point guard with championship experience can make a team better and improve their chances in the playoffs.
If there is something for Raptors fans to be excited about is the value that Lowry brings to the table, and his stock is rising. After seeing two of the top team’s exit early in the postseason, it will make other teams take more notice of the veteran, and could stimulate interest if he leaves Toronto.