“We need him in attack mode, but making the right the basketball play
,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said Monday in advance of the Raptors’ game on Tuesday in Brooklyn. Lowry missed practice, as he was attending a funeral. “Not forcing the pass, not forcing the shot: just playing basketball.”
As the Raptors struggled, it is clear many people involved with the Raptors, from the coaches to players, grew a bit frustrated with Lowry’s style of play. Lowry, at his best, puts pressure on the defence all by himself, and sometimes that means the ball does not pinball around the offence as it does with Calderon on the floor.
Lowry found a balance in his first two games before the new year, averaging 16.5 points and seven assists. Since then, he has been passive to a fault.
Since he returned to back up Calderon, it has become clearer that Lowry is trying to adapt his game to fit the Raptors’ preferred style of offence. He masterfully found a balance in his first two games before the new year, averaging 16.5 points and seven assists. Since then, he has been passive to a fault, with the exception of a spurt against the Kings when the Raptors could not get anything going. He is averaging just slightly more than five field-goal attempts per game over the last six contests. That statistic is only a bit telling — it is important that Lowry gets into the paint, not that he necessarily shoots — but it hints at a more conservative approach.
“Make the play that is going to help us win. I’m not looking at his numbers,” Casey said. “He has a skill set to attack the basket. But make a basketball play
. … Nobody said anything about him making [bad decisions when he took just two shots] in the Portland game, but we won. He made the right basketball decisions
. Last time I checked, that’s the most important thing. What play can I make to help this team win?
“Could he be more aggressive? Yeah. But again, you can’t say he should have shot that when he thinks he’s making a basketball play. I think we had a little success with him playing that way. You can’t get over-concerned with one game and just start looking at those numbers. I thought he’s been playing the game the right way and has done a heck of a job of accepting the role coming off of the bench.”