Debating Kyle Lowry vs. Jose Calderon as Toronto Raptors Starting Point Guard
The Raptors' strongest position heading into training camp is point guard, where they have two players good enough to start and lead the team.
Although Jose Calderon has done a fine job with Toronto in the past, Kyle Lowry was the Raptors' biggest offseason addition and could very well be starting for the team on opening night against Indiana.
One thing about the two guards is their style of play is very different. While Calderon is a pass-first point guard and good shooter, he’s not a natural scorer and is a poor defender.
Lowry, on the other hand, is a good scorer, rebounder and defender, but he lacks experience as a starting guard.
Continue to find out who deserves to start at point guard for the Toronto Raptors next season.
Kyle Lowry is clearly not the best shooter on the Raptors, but he still finds ways to score and will be one of Toronto’s best offensive weapons. Last season as a starter with the Rockets, Lowry averaged 15.9 points per game, a high amount for a point guard.
While Calderon is a good shooter, he tends to sit back and let his teammates handle the scoring. Jose averaged 10.5 points per game with the Raptors and has averaged less than double-digit points per game for his career. He’s good when he’s called upon, but he’s not a player Toronto should rely on to handle the scoring load.
Calderon is one of the best assist men in the game, coming fourth in the league last year with 8.8 assists per game. He’s a great facilitator and does a great job involving everyone on offense. While he doesn’t have many spectacular passes, he usually makes the right ones and players enjoy playing with him as a result.
Lowry is still a talented passer, but he doesn’t quite have the assist numbers that Calderon does. While 6.6 assists per game is good, it's not good enough to be among the elite. However, if Lowry starts the whole season, those numbers are sure to increase. Don’t be surprised if he averaged between seven and eight assists per game next season.
Kyle Lowry’s excellent work ethic has helped him to become a very good on-ball defender in the NBA. Although he’s not a big guy, he’s relentless on the defensive end and should flourish under Dwane Casey’s system.
Calderon, on the other hand, has proven that he cannot be counted on to stop the other team’s starting point guard and is clearly a liability on the defensive end. Although he has made the Raptors a much better team offensively, he has constantly hurt them on the defensive end because of all the easy baskets he gives up.
Big Advantage: Lowry
For a long time, Lowry was a starter trapped on the bench, always playing behind a point guard slightly better than him. Fortunately, due to his work ethic, he’s been a starter the past two seasons in Houston. While Lowry doesn’t have a ton of experience, he has enough that he’ll fit in fine starting against the Pacers for the first game.
Calderon has plenty of experience as a starter over his career. Jose has started in 293 games for the team since 2005 and clearly is comfortable with being the top point guard. However, Calderon played well coming off the bench back when T.J. Ford was on the team, and could play a similar role this season.
Despite Calderon’s experience starting for the team over the past few years with the Raptors, Lowry is the man for the job. His scoring will really help a team that struggled to get baskets last season and it’ll be hard for Dwane Casey not to fall in love with him on the defensive end.
Calderon should still get a lot of minutes for Toronto, and could see time at shooting guard at times. However, his main responsibility this season will be to help the Raptors' young players in the second unit to become comfortable scoring in the NBA.
Kyle Lowry is a great fit for the Raptors, and has a good chance of being not just their top point guard, but overall best player this season.