An Ode to No. 7

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With the Future Uncertain, it’s Important to Cherish an All-Time Great

The single greatest talent in team history?

The answer is really quite easy.

There hasn’t ever been a player like Kawhi Leonard to don the Toronto Raptors jersey in its 25 year history.

On talent alone, Leonard reigns supreme and a case can even be made for Vince Carter, a player who’s attitude may have prevented him from reaching his true potential. Hell, even DeMar DeRozan, a freakish athlete drafted in the lottery out of USC put in the work to turn into a franchise icon, a multiple-time All-Star.

Chris Bosh?

Yes, he was an incredible talent as well, but there is only one name synonymous with greatest Toronto Raptor Ever… 

Kyle Lowry.

Today, Kyle Lowry turned 34 years old. The Villanova product was a late first round pick and was in the midst of his 13th NBA season prior to the COVID-19 stoppage. Eight of those seasons were spent with the Toronto Raptors and barring any unforeseen trade, Lowry has a $30-million price tag for next season.

He is the team’s all-time leader in Win Shares – both defensive and offensive – three-point field goals made, steals, assists, value over replacement player (VORP), and moreover, he was the best player in the biggest game in Toronto Raptors history.

Game 6 of the NBA Finals belonged to the greatest Raptor in Franchise history.

Setting the tone in the first quarter, Lowry finished the night with 26 points, 10 assists, and seven boards. He threw himself into passing lanes, he sacrificed his body to draw charges, and as he has been for as long as any Raptor fan can remember – he was the leader from start to finish.

He is the leader – he is the motor that powers the engine – and without Lowry, the Raptors rise to dominance would have never happened. The Raptors would have never conquered the NBA and earned their first ever NBA championship without their point guard.

The Raptors are lauded for their excellent team culture, which most certainly starts from the very top and trickles down. Team ownership is outstanding and they brought in Masai Ujiri, who first with Jeff Weltman, and now with Bobby Webster have built a  champion and a long-lasting contender. Dwane Casey and Nick Nurse were built in a similar mode and Lowry is the extension on the basketball court.

No, Kyle Lowry will never be remembered as the greatest talent in team history, but he is the face of what this era of Raptors basketball represents – he is the heart and soul of the greatest era in Raptors basketball.

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