8. Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
It’s hard to fathom that Lowry will be entering his 11th NBA season. It’s also hard to fathom that he didn’t start gaining recognition until three years ago. Since that time, Lowry has turned into a two-time All-Star and is one-half of one of the NBA’s best backcourts.
As with most shorter players, Lowry struggles with some parts of his offense but more than makes up for it in other facets of his game. To start, he’s a legitimate threat from distance and is a huge contributor to DeMar DeRozan‘s success–at 38.8 percent from downtown, Lowry opens up the floor for DeRozan, who thrives inside the arc. When it comes to creating for others, he’s more than capable, but his scoring role has increased, thus reducing his assist numbers slightly.
On defense and the glass, Lowry is phenomenal. Despite being listed at 6-0, Lowry managed to average 4.7 boards per contest, a remarkably high number for a guard that short. Defensively, Lowry is a bulldog. He locks up one-on-one and plays the passing lanes as well as anyone else in the league, and finished tied for first with 2.1 steals per night. Toronto needs him just as much as anyone else, and for them to improve on their best season ever, Lowry will need to continue to evolve as a player.
Next: No. 7