The Raptors have a new star and new coach this season, but to this point the results in the regular season it’s been business as usual in Toronto. The Raptors are the top team in the East at 11-1, one of two 1-loss teams remaining in the NBA, and they’ve had that success with and without Kawhi Leonard, who has missed four games this season for scheduled rest and a sore foot.
Leonard arrived in Toronto this offseason in a somewhat controversial trade that sent away fan favorite DeMar DeRozan, splitting up their long time backcourt duo and leaving Kyle Lowry frustrated and upset. That hasn’t hindered their play on the court and Lowry is off to one of the best starts to the season of his career, leading the league in assists with more than 11 per game. Lowry is working well with Leonard, but he still misses DeRozan, continuing to do their old pregame handshake routine by himself.
Lowry recently spoke with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated about the Raptors early season success and how he’ll handle the upcoming return to Toronto for coach Dwane Casey, now in Detroit, and DeRozan when the Spurs come to town later in the season. The point guard insisted he wouldn’t get too emotional when DeRozan’s tribute video is played, but did insist both men should get a big welcome from the Raptors fans.
“Standing ovation. They have done a lot for the city and the organization. Welcome them with open arms, which I’m sure Toronto fans will do. I have no doubt about that.”
It would be a surprise if the Raptors fans did anything less than that, given neither player nor coach left on their own accord as Casey was fired and DeRozan was traded. Still, Lowry saying this all but assures this will be the response both receive.
Lowry also explains in the interview how his relationship with Casey wasn’t always perfect, but he always respected him for being “the nicest man in the world” and that he pushes DeRozan even more now because he watches all of the Spurs games and texts him things he can be working on.