The NBA season is still young, barely walking, but like a toddler’s first check-up, some conclusions can already be drawn. The Miami Heat look like the rocket-fueled, jet pack wearing demolition robots we all thought they would be last season. The Mavs look like the reincarnation of the 2007 Heat. Ricky Rubio looks like he might actually earn some of the hype that has followed him halfway across the world, and Kyle Lowry looks like the truth.
Over his first four games, Houston’s baby-faced wonder is averaging 13 points, 11 assists, 6 rebounds, and 2.5 steals. He is leading the league in assists, leading all point-guards in rebounds, and registering a 25.77 PER. While there’s only been an NBA for a week and these numbers represent a miniscule fraction (6%) of the total games to be crammed into this abbreviated season, I see no reason to view this as an aberration.
Finishing last season as the starting point guard, Lowry averaged 18 points, 8 assists, and 5 rebounds through twenty games. A quarter of one season plus one week of another is obviously too limited a sample size to make any sort of bold prediction, but it also shows a degree of consistency that should be encouraging to Rockets’ fans who lately seem so discouraged about their team’s future.
With Lowry as the starter, the team’s record is 17-7. That percentage, if maintained for an entire season would net the Rockets 58 wins, or last year what would have been the number two seed in the Western Conference. Again, it’s clearly unreasonable to expect something like that from this team, but, again, it’s certainly a positive sign moving forward.
Lowry’s confidence seems to be growing with every game. On Saturday night, his shot wasn’t falling, so instead of getting frustrated and forcing the issue, he found other ways to contribute (such as 18 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, and a magnificent block). During one Atlanta possession, he found himself guarding Al Horford alone in the paint (I think it was a Hawks’ fast break), but instead of giving up an easy two points to the Atlanta center as nearly every point guard in the league would have, Lowry snatched the entry pass from above Horford’s head and ignited a fast break of his own.
Has Kyle Lowry proven himself to be among the top point guards in the NBA? Absolutely not. But could he? Without question. With Rockets’ fans and its general manager beating the giant bass drum frantically for a star, what we all may have overlooked is that we might just have a nascent one already here.