Time for a transitive equation.
A equals B and B equals C, and in this case, A indeed equals C.
“His brain speed and IQ for the game is at such a high level that it really has a multiplying effect on everybody else on the roster,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told USA TODAY Sports. “Those classic Hall of Fame point guards have that kind of impact on your team. Most of it is so subtle. I’ve always been a big fan of Kyle, and a lot of it has been because of being on the other side competing against him. I’ve seen how he can impact winning.”
Just like when Butler joined the Heat, it seems Lowry and the Heat have been in a partnership in the making for several seasons given their fierce focus on winning.
“Every team’s standard is different,” said Lowry, who joined the Heat in free agency last summer after nine seasons in Toronto. “I came from a place where I helped create the standard, and this one, I was able to fall in line and be a part of the standard.”
The Heat are 13-8 and tied for third in the Eastern Conference just two games behind Brooklyn, and Lowry is a major part of it in his first season with Miami.
“Nowhere near where we want to be,” Lowry said. “Let’s get that clear. We don’t want to be where we need to be right now. That’s a good thing. … We want to have our ups and downs.”
Lowry averages 12.3 points, 7.7 assists and 4.8 rebounds, but Lowry’s game is and has been more than just statistics.
“I figured this out when I was in college at Villanova,” Lowry explained. “The more your team is successful, the more you’re successful. The team creates everyone else’s success.”
Of the Heat players who have played at least 500 minutes this season, Lowry has the best on-court net rating. The Heat score 109.5 points and allow 101.6 points per 100 possessions with Lowry on the court.
“He competes to win,” Spoelstra said. “It’s such a cliché. Stats don’t matter. It’s really about finding a way to control the game, impact the game and finish the game with a win. The competitions and games call for different things, and he’s able to figure that out as well as anybody.”
On a team with Butler, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Lowry said, “I don’t necessarily have to score 10, 12 points a game for us to win. I just have to go out there and do my job to make everyone else’s job easier.”
Lowry was the kind of player who had career seasons year after year, averaging a career-high 22.4 points in 2016-17 and career-high 8.7 assists in 2018-19, the season the Toronto Raptors won the championship.
“I always found it interesting he was able to toggle back and forth between being a leading guy for a franchise and being a No. 1 scorer or a No. 2 scorer, and the year they won the championship, he went right into classic point guard play and it’s so seamless,” Spoelstra said. “Not a lot of guys can do that. He makes it look easy, which it’s not.”
Lowry is with his fourth team in his 16th NBA season, a career that is turning into a Hall of Fame possibility. With Toronto, Lowry became a six-time All-Star and an All-NBA performer in a league loaded with great guards.
Winning a title amid seven consecutive playoff appearances with the Raptors turned Lowry into a Canadian folk hero. The Heat play Toronto twice in Miami before a Feb. 3 return to Toronto.
“I’ve envision it being really emotional but at the same time being in awe because I believe that the ovation, the support, the love that I will get the next years that I’m playing up there will be the same as when I played there,” he said.
Now, Lowry seeks another title alongside his good friend Butler.
Butler and Lowry met each about 10 years ago – when Butler began emerging with the Chicago Bulls and Lowry had just joined the Raptors in what he thought would be a short stay. The New York Knicks agreed to acquire him in a 2013 trade but the deal was vetoed by Knicks owner James Dolan.
They started hanging out when they could, dinners in Chicago or Toronto. “There was a mutual respect,” Lowry said. “When you connect with someone like that, it’s easy.”
And like many of the partnerships in the NBA, the friendship deepened when they played together for the U.S. at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Lowry had options in free agency, but the pull to join the Heat and Butler was too irresistible.
“We complement each other because his abilities are unlimited,” Lowry said. “He works as hard as I work. He does the things that a professional should do and cares about the game to the utmost extent, and so do I.
“I give him a chance to just go out there and score and to be him and his energy on other things while not having to be a playmaker. I give him the ability to shoot, score and defend. For me, he gives me a chance to have games where I have two, three, four points but my superstar is doing his job.”
Lowry has lifted some of the burden from Butler, who is having an All-NBA season at 23.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.1 steals per game while shooting 51.9% from the field.
“It allows Jimmy to be an attacker, a scorer and not have to shoulder all the other responsibilities of playmaking for us,” Spoelstra said.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kyle Lowry flourishing as he chases a second ring with Jimmy Butler
Source: Yahoo Sports