Mentor Chauncey Billups, Helps Kyle Lowry Grow Wise

If you’re a fan of hardscrabble basketball, then you’ve probably already fallen in love with the tough-nosed point out of Philly, Kyle Lowry. He’s bounced around the league since getting drafted in 2006, but finally found a home — and a new, four-year, $48 million contract — with the Raptors last season. A Lowry profile by Grantland’s estimable long-form writer Jonathan Abrams let us know that retired point guard Chauncey Billups played a big role in tempering Lowry’s tempestuous attitude, which didn’t really let Lowry catch on with a team until this past season north of the border.

Per Abrams, it seems Lowry’s agent, Andy Miller, reached out to one of his other clients, Billups, who also had a rough start to what could possibly become a hall-of-fame career. The connection worked, and Billups somehow found a way to break through to Lowry, a who — as Abrams shows — isn’t likely to trust anyone by family:

Andy Miller, Lowry’s agent, also showed faith in Lowry’s ability. Miller put him in touch with one of his other clients, Chauncey Billups, who had had a rough beginning in the NBA before finding stardom and stability in Detroit.

“Chauncey pushed me,” Lowry said. “He pushed me mentally to challenge myself. He just has this aura about him like you don’t want to upset him. You want to make sure he’s like, ‘Good job.’ There are some people in this world that you just be like, ‘Man, just give me some praise.’ And the little bit of praise, the sky’s the limit for that. There’s not many people I say I look up to. I don’t look up to people like that. [But] I look up to him.”

Chauncey is the best, and if he’s not an assistant coach within a couple years, then someone is paying him a ton of money to be on television. Then again, if Steve Kerr and Mark Jackson can get hired as a head coach without much experience as an assistant, why can’t Chuancey?

Anyways, back to the fantastic profile of Lowry. If you’re one of those basketball fans who misses the days of hand-checking basketball, back when defense won championships more so than any individual offensive exploits and the three-point line hadn’t changed the way teams attack, so things still had to go through the block, then you gotta love Kyle Lowry — if you don’t already.

A perfect example is this quote he gave Abrams:

You can’t worry if you look cool playing basketball. A cool basketball player is a garbage basketball player. Tony [Parker] ain’t the coolest, smoothest guy, but Tony gets it done. Timmy [Duncan] ain’t. Manu [Ginobili] is pretty cool. But he plays hard as hell by being cool. He ain’t being cool on purpose. He just got a cool game.”

That’s such an apt and succinct explanation of the Spurs’s style and what makes their long-time triumvirate so successful, we’re pissed we didn’t think of it first.

Kyle Lowry is one of our new favorite players, and it was Chauncey who helped get him to a place where he’s finally get rewarded for all his hard work.

Go read the rest of the feature on Lowry; it’s well worth the time for a deep look at one of the more unique and underrated players in the game today.

What do you think?

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