When the Toronto Raptors traded Rudy Gay in early December, many people around the NBA believed that this was just the first domino in a likely fire-sale of the Raptors roster, courtesy of new general manager Masai Ujiri. Despite that belief, though, Toronto has remained with the status quo since the trade and it has worked out quite well.
In the 23 games since Gay was dealt, the Raptors are 15-8 and have climbed all the way to third place in the Eastern Conference and first in the Atlantic Division. While DeMar DeRozan has played remarkably well and second-year wing Terrence Ross has stepped up with newfound minutes, you could argue that no Raptor has been more impressive than point guard Kyle Lowry.
On Friday night against the Philadelphia 76ers, Lowry had a monster night on the way to another Raptors victory. In 36 minutes, Lowry put up 18 points, 13 assists, 10 rebounds and just two turnovers while shooting 7-11 from the floor and 3-5 from the field. DeRozan’s 34 points certainly helped, but Lowry was making plays all over on Friday night.
Lowry has been playing 35.9 minutes per night since the Gay trade. In that role, he’s averaging 17.3 points, eight assists, 4.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals and just two turnovers per game while hitting a decent 44.4 percent of his shots and a blistering 43.4 percent of his attempts from long-range.
When the talks were taking place about the moves the Raptors were going to make following the Gay trade, Lowry was a name that was constantly getting floated out there. With the way he’s been playing and leading, in addition to the team’s recent success, he’s making a strong case as to why the Raptors should hold onto him.
Ultimately, Lowry could still be dealt—especially with his value as high as it currently is—in the interest of building a team with a better chance of contending in the future by acquiring assets, draft picks and such. Wherever Lowry does end up, though, his performance over the last month and a half deserves a round of applause.