How far can the Raptors be pushed with Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas? Anybody who watched the preseason game against the Washington Wizards on Oct. 17/2012 saw flashes of the brilliance these two players can bring them for the future. The pump fake by Jonas Valanciunas followed by a slam was just great too watch. The energy and penetration Kyle Lowry had coming out of an injury was terrific too watch. The Raptors finally have something to look forward to for future.
Kyle Lowry was added to Toronto from the Houston Rockets in the summer of 2012 in a trade which sent Gary Forbes and a reverse lottery protected pick back to the Rockets. As seen against the Wizards the Raptor fans finally see a Point Guard who can penetrate, after all those years of watching Jose Calderon. Kyle Lowry had 14 points and 6 assists on a day where rust and fatigue were apparently a big factor. The thing though that got Raptor fans like myself excited was the constant attacks on the rim. The plays like when he stole the ball and bulldogged his way to the rim and the chemistry he had with Landry fields during the 3rd quarter run was fun to watch. My mouth drooled a little when he attacked the Rim and dropped off to the cutters. Kyle Lowry is arguably a top 10 point guard in this league and the tandem he forms with Jose Calderon as his backup should be interesting to watch. So his progress this season and the seasons to come should decide how the raptors do in the next few seasons.
Jonas Valanciunas, who the Raptors drafted in the 2011 draft at #5 is considered to have star potential. Many experts agreed that he would have been #2 in the 2012 draft. He is athletic, has a great motor and good length and terrific potential. He has played 3 games for the raptors this preseason and what i have seen from him has really excited me. He is always moving on defence and seems to be in the right place at the right time. He is very good on the P n R and seems to be a good rebounder. But the biggest play that he made was the hook toward the end of the game against the Pistons, which proved that this kid wants the spotlight and won’t shy away. He has a long way to go but his progress so far has given the fans of Toronto high hopes. How Jonas develops will be a huge indicator on how good the Raptors can be.
This season for the Raptors will see a bunch of new players, join the team and try to form a new identity for this team. This seasons playoff hopes may depend more on the play of Andrea Bargnani and the leap Demar Derozan is supposed to make, but the future of the Raptors is in the hands of Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas. The sample size is obviously small and it is only preseason but from what i see from these two i have to say, The Raptors future seems to be in good hands.