Hi, again. I realize these parts have been quiet of late, but there is big news on the horizon, and I'm sure that you'll understand once I'm able to reveal it. For now, however, let's take a look at someone who I think deserves some credit for his performance this past season.
For my money, Kyle Lowry is the best backup point guard in the league. He's efficient, he runs the second unit to near perfection, and he lets his game speak on the court. You've heard all of this before. And yet, whenever I talk up Lowry to non Rockets fans, they don't tend to agree. They say he's average, and that I'm over my head, and that he should have stayed at Villanova for another two years. Whatever. Here is some statistical proof that you won't find in a box score, courtesy of Hoop Data and Synergy Sports.
1. Kyle Lowry led all NBA point guards in offensive rebound rate.
His ORR in 2010 was 6.1 - that's amazing. To compare, Carl Landry's ORR was 7.1, Gerald Wallace's was 5.9, and Kevin Garnett's was 4.7. In other words, when it comes to keeping possessions alive, Kyle doesn't hesitate to jump into the paint and do his part.
2. Lowry finished 3rd in total rebound rate among point guards.
So, basically, Kyle can rebound. You don't say no to rebounding guards.
3. Kyle Lowry gets to the free throw line - a lot.
Have a look at this dandy chart.
This is the number of free throws attempted per game among point guards. Sure, Lowry falls behind all of these guys, who are all starters for their respective teams. But take a look at the minutes per game column - Lowry is a full ten minutes per game behind many of these players. That makes Kyle look pretty darn good. To add, he converts at a high rate, making his free throws 82.7 percent of the time.
4. Lowry is a foul-drawing machine in transition
In transition, Lowry drew fouls at a higher rate (21% of the time) than Kevin Durant (19%), who led the entire league in free throw attempts. While Durant had 20 "and 1s" in transition compared to Lowry's 7, Durant took 247 attempts in transition compared to Lowry's 86. If you were to give Lowry the same number of attempts, his amount of "and 1s" would reach 20 as well.
5. Lowry takes a ton of shots at the rim.
Per 36 minutes, Lowry takes 4 shots at the rim. That's right on par with Deron Williams. As we know, the shot at the rim is the most efficient shot in basketball aside from the three point shot. The more the Rockets can attack the paint, the better. In comparison, Kyle only takes 3.2 jump shots per 36 minutes. The one area of Kyle's game that needs to be improved the most is his three-point shooting - he takes three 3-point shots per 36 minutes. He's not a good outside shooter, and this number needs to be reduced. Hopefully, having Yao back will help.
6. Usage and APER
Lowry is 55th in the league in usage - among point guards. Basically, this means that Lowry is rather unselfish with the ball. Remember how Ron Artest used to take up possessions by himself? That made him a high usage player. Lowry is the opposite: he doesn't force the action too often.
Even better, if you take the top 20 point guards in the league as ranked by their APER (Adjusted Player Efficiency Rating), Lowry ranks 20th. But then, if you take those players and rank them by their usage, Lowry ranks third. In other words, for how efficient Kyle is, he doesn't need the ball in his hands too often to make a difference on the court.
Does this mean Lowry should start? No - he's much better with the second unit. That's an advantage that the Rockets would like to be able to keep.