Raptors legend Vince Carter made a bold statement the other day when he stated that Kyle Lowry’s body of work is that of a Hall of Fame candidate. Carter believes Lowry’s weaker name recognition will have people looking the other direction but “his body of work is close to top 10.” I wouldn’t go as far as Carter but certainly, Lowry does have a Hall of Fame case.
Lowry’s Career at First Glance
At first glance, Lowry’s career averages of 15 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds per game on 42% shooting from the field are less than extraordinary. Of course, Lowry’s no Bill Bradley who made it to the Hall of Fame averaging 12 points and 4 rebounds per game with 1 all-star game appearance. But still, Lowry’s averages are dwarfed by a majority of basketball Hall of Famers and that’s putting it lightly. Thankfully, Lowry’s longevity and contributions to winning might make up for it.
Lowry’s played 15 years in the NBA, including 8 seasons with the Toronto Raptors. There he helped kickstart the most consistent era of Raptors basketball alongside a developing DeMar DeRozan. After his first year with the franchise, the organization went on to win 48 or more games in each of his seasons with the team, peaking with a 59-win season in 2017-18.
League-wide, the duo of Lowry and DeRozan were heralded as one of the top-5 backcourts for multiple seasons in a row. Lowry has also led the team in win shares in five of his eight seasons including this year and has 6 all-star game appearances. He was also All-NBA in the 2015-16 season and is an Olympic gold medalist. Most importantly, Lowry helped lead the franchise to its first NBA championship last season.
Contribution to Winning
They say the best way to judge a Hall of Fame candidate is to ask if the story of the NBA could be told without them. Lowry was part of one of the most dominant regular-season teams in the 2010s and the 2019 NBA champions. So I would say it’s pretty difficult to tell the story of the NBA without him.
His contribution to wins goes beyond statistics. Lowry’s passion, leadership, and discipline are evident on the court. He leads the team in huddles just as well as he does on the break. And for all of Lowry’s disappointments in the playoffs, he’s always managed to bounce back in a big way. Just last year, Lowry scored 0 points against the Orlando Magic in game 1 of their first-round matchup. He quickly followed up that nightmare outing with a 22 point and 7 assist performance.
Also working in Lowry’s favour is career milestones. The point guard just passed Raptors great Jose Calderon for the franchise lead in assists. The all-star now ranks 49th all-time with more than 5000 career assists and is within striking distance of the 7000 assist mark. That would put him into the top 20 in assists. Almost everyone within the top 20 in assists is either in the Hall of Fame already or is very likely to be inducted at some point. Furthermore, Lowry also has a chance to make it into the top 50 in steals before he retires.
Lowry will have compiled enough career statistics and contributed to enough wins to garner Hall of Fame consideration. And the most important point is the NBA’s continuous loosening of the benchmark for the Hall. Not every class of inductees is going to mirror the 2020 class with multiple all-time greats. There are many middling years like in 2019. That year, NBA gave out gold jackets to Vlade Divac and Jack Sikma amongst others. The NBA’s nonchalant attitude towards the Hall of Fame benchmark is quite aggravating. Now I gotta pretend that Magic Johnson and Vlade Divac contributed to the NBA in an even remotely comparable manner. Rants aside, there is no way you can convince me Lowry cant make it if Divac can.
Simply put, Lowry’s been a top point guard in his era since coming into his prime. He’s contributed to some of the most consistent winning seasons in Raptors franchise history. And his leadership intangibles in crucial moments helped the franchise secure it’s first championship last year. When Lowry steps away from the NBA, the only question is how long it will take. This miniature pit-bull is likely already Hall of Fame-bound.