PG Battle: Damon Stoudamire vs. Kyle Lowry vs. Micheal Conley.
Forget how much experience each player has. Forget their age. Forget their draft position. Forget how much each makes. Forget about each players scouting report. Forget about the expectations placed on each player. Forget about who is predicted to start.
Who has played the best during the preseason?
My answer is a no-brainer. He wears #1.
The picture above is on the game winning play by Kyle Lowry where he followed up his own last second miss to tip in the game winner.
Update (by Zack): Here is the video of the tip in...
Against the Rockets (albeit in preseason action), Kyle Lowry showed off his typical gritty determination in front of a sparse Houston crowd, collecting a triple-double (21 points, 12 assists, 11 rebounds) to go with his game winning basket in the second overtime. All in all, Lowry played 44 minutes of the 58 minute affair after Micheal Conley started the game. He used his speed and strength to continuously penetrate into the lane against Mike James, Luther Head and Steve Francis. He did miss on a number of his borderline out-of-control drives, though overall he was effective shooting 6-13 in the lane and getting to the charity stripe 12 times. Also impressive was committing only 2 turnovers and 1 personal foul (offensive, I think) in those 44 minutes. It is quite impressive any time a tenacious defender like Lowry can dog a team for 44 minutes and not get a defensive foul while helping force 26 Houston turnovers, including 6 total for the PG rotation of Francis/Head/James.
One of Lowry's more inspiring plays came in the first overtime. After again driving into the lane for a layup to cut the Houston lead to 2, he was fouled....missed the free throw but collected the rebound and found Andre Brown to tie the game.
Popular wisdom is that Damon will be the starting point guard when the regular season tips off on October 31st against the defending champion Spurs, then eventually giving way to the #4 overall pick Micheal Conley later in the season (at which point Damon would be traded to a contender or bought out).
Kyle Lowry apparently has other ideas.
It is also popular opinion among Griz fans that Lowry is best coming off the bench as a scoring sparkplug and a defensive menace, while Conley is the true point guard needed to run this team on a full-time basis. That might very well be true. But right now Kyle Lowry is doing everything he can to prove he belongs on the court as much as possible and that he can lead this team effectively.
Lowry told reporters after the Houston game:
"I just want to win at all times. No matter if it's preseason or the playground or a pick-up game. That's good I guess."
Chip pointed out that the starting PG and PF spots are the ones up for grabs and that Stromile has all but wrapped up the spot next to Pau in the frontcourt with his stellar play thoughout the preseason and training camp.
I contend that Kyle Lowry is closing in on wrapping up the starting PG spot as well.
Update (by Zack): Looks like it is going to take some more time for Lowry to convince the coaching staff he should start (or more time for the coaching staff to see Damon shouldn't). :)