"Who wants to talk to Killah?," he'd ask as a post-game scrum would take shape around his locker...
Over the weekend, someone asked Lowry if Killah is making a comeback this season.
"Nah, not yet, not yet, not yet," he said. "Maybe December, January."
Then, under his breath, he mumbled, "All-Star breaÖ", cutting off the end of the word with a laugh.
If you ask Lowry to list off his goals for this coming season, he'll likely do so without making a single reference to himself. First and foremost, he'll talk about winning, about getting better as a team, returning to the playoffs and going further than they did a year ago. When he lists off those goals - team goals - he's not being disingenuous. That's the type of leader he's grown into.
But whether he'd admit to it or not, Lowry is leaving a block open in the middle of February, hoping to be in New York for what would be his first NBA All-Star Game this winter. And why shouldn't he be?
..."A lot of it is through maturity," said Dwane Casey, who has coached Lowry through his transformation. "Chauncey, he went through - I don't know how many teams - before he really hit and Kyle's done the same thing. He's been with a few teams and matured. I think it's the right fit, the right teammates, the right coaching staff, the right everything and the right time more than anything else."
...The Raptors, like those old Pistons teams, are not built around a prototypical superstar. They're a well-balanced, unselfish and hard-nosed group. Lowry is the hub of everything they do. He's their undisputed leader. He never got that chance in Memphis or in Houston. He may not have been ready for it even if he had.
In the NBA, most players are typecast relatively early in their careers...three years in, four years in. Fairly or not, it's the reality. What are his limitations? Is he a positive or negative presence in the locker room? How high's his ceiling? The word spreads around the Association and, before you know it, you're labeled, for better or for worse. Very few break that mold once it is shaped.
Billups was supposed to be an erratic shooter and decision maker, a draft bust, a role player. Lowry was labeled stubborn, combative and out of shape. Neither was supposed to be a leader.
"You can accept it or you can't accept it," Lowry said. "And one thing about me is, I didn't accept it and Chauncey, he didn't accept it, either. So we had that trait in us, not to accept what people tried to label us as."
...After last year's All-Star snub, Lowry can follow in his mentor's footsteps once again. The Raptors point guard, turning 29 in March, is entering his 9th year in line for some overdue recognition.
Listening to Lowry speak about his NBA journey, his evolution as a basketball player and as a man, it's abundantly clear he has no intention of being a one-hit wonder. Like in most other professions or life in general, there's no blueprint for success in basketball. Lowry's path has been full of unexpected twists and turns but he's finally reached stardom. Where will he go from here?
With the Atlantic Division still in flux, the Raptors could once again secure home court advantage and the third seed in the playoffs, this time taking to the postseason with an improving, older roster while staring down an Eastern bracket that hasnít done itself any favors outside of Cleveland, Chicago, Charlotte and (maybe) Washington. This is a group that should expect to make it past Game 7 of the opening round.
They're the top dogs for obvious reasons. [Kyle] Lowry's looking better than ever in preseason. DeMar DeRozan has matured into a crafty playmaker. The bench is stronger with James Johnson and Lou Williams on it. With some improvement from Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas, this team could sniff 50 wins.
When it comes to the playoffs, the expectations for the Raptors are split. Some experts predict Toronto will advance to the second round for the first time since 2000-01 while others think they'll fall in the first round again. None of the previews sourced above see the Raptors getting past the Cavaliers or the Bulls in the East.
First of all, LOVED the throwback jerseys. I gotta say, before the idea even came up I said we need to bring them back as throwbacks and a lot of people who are currently in support said let them die because we looked stupid with a dinosaur on our jersey. The dinosaur LIVES!
As for our 5-1 record right now, sure we've had some close calls and played some teams plagued with injuries but the thing is, we may not have the most talented team in the Eastern Conference, but our team probably has the most chemistry. We had a great re-addition in JJ and once Lou Will finds his stroke we have a pretty deep bench. So I like our team right now and that top spot is really up for grabs.