Averaging 17.8 points on a career-best 49.7 per cent shooting while dishing out a league-leading 11.3 assists per game, Lowry has positioned his team to an excellent 11-1 start to the season.
After an off-season that saw Lowry’s best friend, DeMar DeRozan, traded and the firing of the only Raptors head coach he had ever known in Dwane Casey, Lowry has remained rather mum on the two topics outside of what he said on Media Day in September.
In an interview with ESPN’s Marc J. Spears published Thursday, however, Lowry finally opened up about the major events of the summer.
“It took a little bit, but I had to make peace with it right away, because it’s a business,” Lowry told Spears of making peace with the direction Raptors president Masai Ujiri took the club this off-season. “If you take it personal, you’re going to [expletive] yourself. You can’t do that in this business. I never held on to it.”
Though he says he’s not taking it personally, Lowry does admit it will be bizarre seeing Casey patrol the opposite sideline at Scotiabank Arena next Wednesday when the Detroit Pistons come to town and on Feb. 22 when DeRozan’s San Antonio Spurs visit Toronto.
“I’m not looking forward to seeing coach next week. It’s weird,” Lowry said. “Then seeing DeMar is going to be different. It’s going to be weird. And I’m sure they are going to show a video tribute, and I might get emotional. I won’t cry. I won’t do that.”
Perhaps the reason Lowry says he won’t get too overly emotional when DeRozan returns to Toronto is because the two remain in contact, and Lowry says he offers DeRozan even more encouragement now than ever to become better.
“I push him even more because he is not on my team. I can push him to be a better player every single night because I can watch from afar. I can tell him what he is doing, what I see and help him even more because I’m not on the floor with him. I can see with the naked eye, ‘You can do this.’”
Despite how odd it will be to see Casey and DeRozan on the opposition bench in Toronto, and no matter how he might react, Lowry says he wants Raptors fans to respond to seeing them in just one way.
“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.”
Don’t mistake this kindness for anything that will interfere with how Lowry will do his job, however. When the lights go on, both DeRozan and Casey should know what they’ll be in for.
“When I play against [DeRozan], I am going to try to take his head off. That is the relationship that the game brings.”
Yes, as he alluded to since Media Day and beyond, Lowry is all business and, as he’s proving with his performance, he’ll do his job very well.
“I just wanted to be where I could win and I was wanted, and it was here,” he said in response to a question about whether he wanted to stay in Toronto. “They didn’t trade me. So, I guess this was the situation I was going to be in. And as a professional with the situation I am going to be in, I’m going to do my job.”