Kyle Lowry: Add This Rocket to the List of Great Guards

Jordan SpectorContributor IIIJanuary 18, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 10:  Kyle Lowry #7 of the Houston Rockets against the Charlotte Bobcats during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 10, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

It is well known that the NBA has seen a major increase in point guard talent over the past couple of years.

Often, though, other great backcourt leaders are overlooked due to the overshadowing presence of NBA superstars like Chris Paul and Derrick Rose.

But the Houston Rockets—who have shied away from NBA publicity following Yao Ming's retirement—are slowly rekindling the flame that sent them flying back in their heyday.

As the Rockets have now climbed their way over .500 after six straight wins, Kyle Lowry has performed at an all-star caliber level.

The 25-year-old point guard from Villanova is proving to be a wonderful distributor, averaging 8.6 assists per game this year—as opposed to his career average of 4.7.

Lowry has also given the Rockets a considerable scoring lift, putting up 16.5 points per game, which is good for second on the team behind shooting guard Kevin Martin.

Statistically, Lowry has been a top-five point guard since the season started. He leads the league at his position in rebounding with 6.6 a game. He is shooting an impressive 91 percent from the free-throw line—a considerable improvement upon his career average of 77.5 percent. In addition to improving from the charity stripe, Lowry is leading his position with 2.1 three-pointers per game, and is currently fifth among point guards in steals.

Since being promoted to the starting job after Aaron Brooks was traded a year ago, Lowry has seized the opportunity and run with it. 

It's just hard to criticize Lowry's play thus far.

He currently holds the second-highest efficiency rating among NBA guards—only trailing future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant—and has come close to a triple-double on multiple occasions. 

Perhaps his most notable performance came in the Rockets' OT upset of the Portland Trail Blazers. Lowry put up a monster performance, finishing with 33 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. 

Especially in beating a team like the Trail Blazers, Lowry's leadership skills really showed through in a season-high 49 minutes of action. Despite the apparent exhaustion in his play, Lowry's bulldog mentality helped lift the team to a big win, and certainly excited fans at the Toyota Center.

The performance was also the first time in his career that Lowry scored 20-plus points in three consecutive games. This fact alone is a testament to the breakout season Lowry is having.

While Rockets fans should be proud of such a performance, Jason Friedman of reported that Lowry required a post-game IV before speaking to the media. And with a condensed season underway, Goran Dragic and Jonny Flynn will need to play more minutes, as there are simply too many back-to-backs where Lowry will need extra rest.

Even so, the future for Houston and their point guard is looking bright.

Whether or not Lowry continues to post the elite numbers that have caught the eyes of many, he has certainly proved to Rockets fans and NBA watchers alike that his skills on the court are deserving of higher recognition.

And as Houston hopes to maintain its momentum under the guidance of Kyle Lowry, we can now allow the countdown to begin. It's only a matter of time before the Rockets finally take off.