BY HENRY ABBOTT
In this year’s playoffs, we’ve seen a tale of two Raptors: the team with Kyle Lowry and the team without. If you watch every second Lowry has been on the floor, you’ll see a Toronto cakewalk. They have a shot at a title outscoring opponents by eight points per 100 possessions. If, on the other hand, you watch the minutes Lowry has been on the bench, it’s just about a tie, and the Raptors are not elite at all.
This might be surprising for a player who—when you mash his box-score stats together into PER, emerges as the 57th best player in the NBA this season (somewhere beneath Marquese Chriss, D’Angelo Russell, and Dwight Howard). It’s less surprising if you look at any team-performance based stat. Real Plus-Minus ranks 400 or so NBA players every season. This year, Lowry finished sixth overall, ahead of players like Kawhi Leonard, Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum, Joel Embiid, Damian Lillard, Jimmy Butler, and Anthony Davis. And it’s no outlier. By that same measure, Lowry’s ave…
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