Best 7 Years of My Life

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Holdover from the Colangelo Regime, Kyle Lowry is Heading to the Finals

As Kawhi Leonard stepped to the free throw line in the final seconds of Game 6, Kyle Lowry couldn’t help but to break out into a smile.

The lone holdover from the Bryan Colangelo regime was heading to his first NBA Finals.

From scoring zero points in an underwhelming Game 1 against the Orlando Magic, a game that feels like it was ages ago, Lowry has gone on to show the basketball world why he is an All-Star and why the analytics darling that he is has been one of the game’s best players over the last half-decade.

In his seven years with the Toronto Raptors franchise, he has been through it all.

In his first year when his Raptors turned in a 34-48 season, finishing dead last in the Atlantic Division. He was then nearly traded to the New York Knicks. Then Masai Ujiri made the pivotal trade the started everything, leading to his infamous “F*** Brooklyn” speech prior to the Raptors first postseason series of the Lowry era.

Over his tenure with the team, the Raptors improved with each season and Lowry became a five-time NBA All-Star. This postseason, he became the franchise’s all-time leading postseason scorer, topping his best friend and longtime organizational cornerstone, DeMar DeRozan. Even when DeRozan was around, leading the cavalry, it always felt like the backbone, and the heart and soul of the team was Lowry.

Seven years since his arrival, nothing has changed. Lowry is still the straw that stirs the drink.

He will never amaze anyone with his box score numbers. In fact, only twice in his entire career, the point guard has averaged over 20 points per game, but yet after every season, you look at his advanced statistics – the Win Shares, the box score plus/minus and so and and so forth and you realize just how important Lowry is. When you sit down and watch the Raptor game, you see Lowry diving for his life to save loose balls for his teams, taking every charge imaginable, getting into passing lanes, pushing the tempo, making the right basketball play and you realize just want Lowry is all about.

He’s a little bulldog, but more than that, he is a basketball savant who impacts the game on both sides of the court, and whether it is Kawhi Leonard dropping 35-plus points a night and shutting down Giannis Antetokounmpo or Fred VanVleet and his new-found ‘Dad Strength’ is draining clutch three-pointer after clutch three-pointer, Lowry remains behind the scenes, quietly pushing all the right buttons.

He is the ultimate floor general.

Constantly overshadowed – still overshadowed – many do not realize how vital Lowry is to the team’s overall success. But no matter, because the outside noise is unimportant. As the emotions oozed from Lowry post-game as the Raptors celebrated as the Eastern Conference champions, Lowry reverted back to his composed and focused self on the podium.

“Our goal is to win an NBA championship and we’re just going to keep getting better and plugging away.”

Last night was one of the biggest moments in the history of Canadian sports and Lowry was at the centre of it. Again, the mission is not yet complete, but there is no one more deserving to play in the NBA Finals than North Philly’s Finest.

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