Wednesday September 14th, 2016

For a couple of years now, the “NBA’s best point guards” discussion has tended to turn into a game of rock-paper-scissors after the clear-cut top three: Stephen Curry, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook. Last season, though, Kyle Lowry (21.2 PPG, 6.4 APG, 4.7 RPG, 2.1 SPG) made a very compelling case that he deserved the fourth spot, no questions asked. A far better shooter than John Wall, a far better defender than Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving, and a far more dynamic scorer than Mike Conley, the 30-year-old Lowry firmed up his all-around credentials the old-fashioned way: by winning. After two straight years of frustrating early exits from the playoffs, Lowry shook off his shooting slumps to lead a “good but not great” Raptors roster to the Eastern Conference finals. While Lowry doesn’t possess Wall’s athleticism, or Lillard’s deep range, or Irving’s handle, or Conley’s playoff experience, he almost certainly possesses the fewest weaknesses among this group. Given his age and the fact that he’s at or very near his ceiling, Lowry probably won’t crack the seemingly impenetrable top three at his position. That’s fine, so long as he gets his due for being at the forefront of the loaded second tier. (Last year: No. 34)

+ Ranked in the top five among point guards in PER, Win Shares, Real Plus Minus, points per game and steals 
+ Earned All-NBA honors for the first time while also lifting Toronto to a franchise-best 56 wins and its first trip to the conference finals
His 38.3 FG% in the playoffs is the second-lowest among active players with at least 500 attempts
Turned 30 in March, logged huge minutes each of the last three seasons, and battled nagging injuries down the stretch in 2014–15 and 2015–16

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