Given that Kyle Lowry put together the shiniest page of his resume during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, it’s easy to forget just how good he was for the first two-plus months of that year. How good exactly? Through 34 games, he was the No. 6 overall player in 9-category leagues, averaging 15.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 7.5 apg, 1.9 spg and 1.9 3s.
But in March of 2012, Lowry’s season unraveled. Sidelined for a month due to a bacterial infection, he only played in nine games after he recovered, posting 7.4 ppg in 18 minutes per game.
Then, last year, rather than going boom/bust, Lowry was even worse: He was boring. After joining the Raptors in a trade, he missed 14 games and fell to No. 65 overall in Basketball Monster’s 9-category rankings.
That left Lowry carrying a lot of uncertainty heading into this season. But for the moment, Lowry as we once knew him – or at least something close to it – is back.
In his last 10 games, the Raptors PG has posted 17.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 7.3 apg, 1.7 spg and 2.1 3s, numbers reminiscent of his glory run from 2011-12.
Unfortunately, there are caveats. First, there’s the durability issue, which most of us are well aware of (Lowry has missed an average of 14 games the last four years). Perhaps even more of a concern is the lingering risk of a trade, which has been rumored by various news machines. But on that front, I’d stop short of panicking. A trade certainly could damage Lowry’s value, but if you try to trade him from a place of panic, your panic is going to smell bad. And smelly panic will kill trade leverage almost instantly.
With that said, if you find an owner in your league who values Lowry as a top-25 fantasy player regardless of trade rumors, then it makes some sense to try to make a deal and shed the weight of the risk – if you’re into that kind of thing. Personally I would rather gamble on Lowry staying in Toronto and lose than trade him away at less than peak value. You may feel differently, and that’s understandable. But if all breaks right, Lowry is capable of going on a prolonged run with truly elite value. My guess is most players you’d get back in a trade for Lowry right now can’t say the same thing.
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Now, some other notes from around the league…
Random Thoughts, Part 1: Terrence Ross has posted 12.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.0 spg, 0.6 bpg and 2.2 3s in his last five games, but has struggled in his last two (7.0 ppg, 6-of-21 shooting in 24 minutes per game). Based on what I’ve seen, Ross’ minutes (and value) are directly tied to how well he’s shooting, and when his outside shot isn’t falling, he ends up on the bench pretty quickly. That’s not encouraging, especially with talk that Greivis Vasquez could play more alongside Lowry, but I’m giving Ross a couple more games this weekend before I cut him. … A couple weeks ago I suggested that a day would come at some point this season when Giannis Antetokounmpo would be flying off waiver wires, and it looks like that day may be arriving sooner than I anticipated (last four games: 11.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.0 spg, 0.8 bpg). He’s still only owned in 13 percent of Yahoo leagues, and though he may still have some hiccups before hitting must-start status, this is a player I would air on the side of stashing sooner rather than later. … Speaking of Milwaukee, John Henson’s last 10 games look like this: 15.5 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 1.0 spg, 2.2 bpg. That frontcourt will get crowded at some point once Larry Sanders and Zaza Pachulia return, but with the Bucks now 5-20 – and going youth movement by starting Antetokounmpo – it would take some serious idiocy for them not to play Henson 30-plus minutes per game even after Sanders and Pachulia are back.
Random Thoughts, Part 2: Channing Frye has posted 14.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.0 spg, 0.8 bpg and 2.8 3s in his last 13 games. I’ve been waiting for Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris or any other forward from the Morris family to take down Frye’s value, but at the moment he looks every bit as valuable as he did beforehe missed a year due to heart issues. … Trey Burke in December (10 games): 14.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 6.4 apg and 1.6 3s. Some may look at his 30-7-8 line from Wednesday as a sell-high moment, but personally, I’ll be looking to trade for him after the excitement from that big game dies down a little. I was already a believer after watching Burke at Michigan, and am impressed with how quickly he’s started posting good numbers after missing the first 12 games of the year with a broken finger. … It amuses me that Hawks assistant coach Darvin Ham – a player best known for this – is now giving sage advice on the subtleties of the jump shot.