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Kyle Lowry regrets how he handled time with Houston Rockets

Mar 20, 2014, 11:20 AM EDT

Dwight Howard, Kyle Lowry

Kyle Lowry ranks sixth in the NBA in win shares. He’s averaging 17.3 points, 7.8 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. He’s led the Raptors to the East’s third-best record.

He darn well should have been an All-Star.

But All-Star reserves are chosen by coaches, and coaches generally don’t like Lowry. He all too often has made life difficult for them.

That was particularly true after the Rockets replaced Rick Adelman with Kevin McHale, when Lowry played for the Rockets.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Looking back, the unraveling under McHale still festers with Lowry. He wishes he had been smarter, surer of himself, less combative in carving out his turf in the NBA. He wishes he had grown up sooner. For Lowry, reaching peace with these revelations gave him the chance to change everything with the Raptors.

“I would have done things differently in Houston,” Lowry says. “I really respected Kevin McHale. I wish I would have had an opportunity to play for him longer. The things he was teaching me, well, I didn’t understand right away. When you get away from someone, though, see it from the outside looking in, you go back and think, ‘Damn, I could’ve learned some more things from the guy.’

“I wanted to stay with Coach Adelman and needed to get over that. [McHale] came in with a different philosophy, and I wish I could’ve adapted to it quicker.”

“He never gave the coaching staff a chance,” assistant coach Kelvin Sampson told Yahoo Sports. “He wouldn’t let Kevin coach him. Kyle’s greatest strength is the bulldog in him, and when that bulldog is channeled the in right direction, he’s tough to handle on the floor. And when it isn’t, he’s tough to handle everywhere else.”

Before last season, the Rockets traded Lowry to Toronto, where he’s blossomed. As Wojnarowski lays out, Lowry has a lengthy list of people who’ve had strong influences on him:

It’s taken a while, but Lowry is finally channeling his competitiveness into more productive forms. Credit goes to everyone on that list, but most of all to Lowry. Reading Wojnarowski’s article, it’s clear Lowry has taken to heart how he must change.

Maybe this all a contract-year façade, a salary-driven excuse for temporarily keeping Lowry on his best behavior. But I want to believe Lowry has genuinely transformed himself. It would be a real success story.

  1. dylude - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    As a Rockets fan looking for something to cheer for, we used to love Lowry’s aggression. But rather summer before he was traded, he threw a basketball at the head of a female referee full strength in anger during a summer league game. That was the end of my support for Lowry just like any Falcons fan who was done with Vick. I love my dog, but I love my girl more. That was the final straw in my book.

    He had to go. I hope he makes the full circle though, and I definitely hope he has a daughter and that motivates him to never assault a woman again.

  2. mackcarrington - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    I think this goes to the argument that some have for letting players mature a little before they come into the league.
    This guy was in the league for over 5 years before finally “getting it”.
    It’s not necessarily about their physical talent but about their mental development.

    • genericcommenter - Mar 20, 2014 at 3:52 PM

      Sure, but I’m not sure where else they are going to develop mentally. College? Do you know any 22 year-old college guys? I spend time with a lot of seriously academic college students who have a lot of maturing left to do. I went to college(s), had one job for over 10 years, started a business, married & had kids before I really “grew up”- And I was always considered beyond my years. Most men under 25 are knuckleheads, and I would say that continues up to around 30 for a good %.

      I guess some people can develop sitting on the couch or on the corner, but it’s probably not the develop we want.

      • mackcarrington - Mar 20, 2014 at 4:31 PM

        I get exactly what you’re saying and know where you’re coming from.
        I guess the thing is, that SO MANY guys think they have what it takes to play in the NBA, and only a small percentage pan out. Whether they were 4 year college guys of 18 year olds out of HS.
        The minor baseball leagues are full of guys who came in at 18 and ended up with 12 year minor league careers.
        Playing and excelling in pro sports at the highest level is truly for that 1%.
        Don’t we all see everyday the skateboard stoners who all think they are going to be stars of the X Games?
        Even in that “sport”, only the top !% make it to the highest level.

    • genericcommenter - Mar 23, 2014 at 5:48 PM

      Fair enough (responding to your last response). Most kids don’t make it to that elite level. I like how baseball contracts have tuition offered. I had a relative who raked in Div 1 baseball, got drafted after his junior year. He wanted to graduate, but Juniors who are drafted have more leverage to sign than Seniors, usually. So he signed and made out better than he would have the next year. It didn’t work out. I think he realized being the best hitter and pitcher in his city in high school to being his team’s top slugger and part-time reliever in college, didn’t mean he was going to make the majors as a DH/1B. He went back to school (“I’m going to finish, and they can pay for it,” he said) after he was cut. He had offers and connections (almost all his coaches from little league on were former MLB players) to keep playing. His dad wanted him to catch on somewhere else. I think he knew his options were better in engineering than the low minors.

      Pragmatically, there’s probably a compromise point between allowing for more seasoning with a real minor league option and a college tuition fallback.

  3. henryd3rd - Mar 20, 2014 at 2:20 PM

    Even seeing that he’s had an attitude change if I’m a GM I’d be careful here lavishing him with a big contracts because NBA contracts are guaranteed and then who knows if he’ll revert to the old Lowry.

  4. madsk1lls - Mar 20, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    Morey turned Rafer Alston into Lowry. Then Lowry into Harden. Out of Goran Dragic, Kyle Lowry, and Jeremy Lin, I think Kyle was the best. He brought it every night on both sides of the floor. Shame Raptors weren’t still tanking. Wr could have maybe got lowry back. But, I’m sure well need all of our assets to make a move this summer.

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