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Kyle Lowry should get paid this off season

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There is a lot to say about Kyle Lowry this season. Coming into this year, he was a perennial trade candidate who was thoroughly under appreciated in his time in Houston and he also had a problem with injury in recent seasons. Houston didn't get what Lowry was worth when they traded him in 2012, as they shipped him out for Gary Forbes and a 1st round pick (Steven Adams). That trade, as it is, was an absolute steal for Toronto, as Lowry is worth substant"ially more than either of those two players. However, Houston later traded that first round draft choice (alongside other pieces) for James Harden, so in the end, that trade was good for the Rockets.

Lowry has absolutely shined this year, being one of the top players in the NBA. And thanks to him leading the Raptors to a very unexpected playoff run, he's bound to get a massive pay day when he hits free agency this off season. In case anybody was wondering if Lowry is elite or not, here's the NBA's top players in Win Shares for this NBA season: Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Lowry. All of the other players all have tags placed on them like "franchise player" and "elite", but why have these tags eluded Lowry? Possibly due to playing in a foreign and relatively small market team like the Toronto Raptors, or possibly because his assist numbers are deemed too low to truly be elite as a point guard, which isn't a smart way to judge point guards, since no guard plays the same way.

As good as Lowry has been, it's still highly unlikely that he gets paid like a franchise player. He's been great this season, but people haven't quite yet caught on, despite his per game numbers still being impressive. He averaged 17.9 points per game, 7.4 assists per game and 4.7 rebounds per game (all career highs), while playing stellar defensively and limiting turnovers to only 2.5 per game. Lowry also led all Eastern Conference point guards in PER, Win Shares and Win Shares per 48 minutes. Because of him being relatively obscure among the NBA media, Lowry will likely be the most valuable free agent on the market this year. At the moment, he's the most valuable player when you consider how little he gets paid for his production; he's currently at a very affordable 6.2 million dollars for his final year. For this kind of production, most other players would be getting a max contract, or something close to that; Lowry will likely not get anything close to that and this benefits the Raptors greatly; they don't need to go into a bidding war to keep one of the Eastern Conference's most talent players.

Raptors fans should be excited for the future; the prospect of keeping one the NBA's top point guards (on an affordable contract!) to play with one of the league's most exciting, up and coming guards in DeMar DeRozan should get the Eastern Conference's full attention. Despite being the 3rd seed, this team can still improve; which is something I'm sure no other team in the East wants to see.

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