Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Starting Point Guard Emerges?

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.

(Copyright 2007 NBAE. Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

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). :)


RedAl said...

I think Lowry has earned it. But I am not sure conley has beat out DS yet. While I think Lowry will start. I think DS will continue to play key minutes early in the year, with Conley sharing some time on the court but certainly not pushing DS completely out. He fouls too much and is too weak on defense. Lowry gives your heart and grit. DS gives you scoring and leadership. Conley is all potential with weak shooting and even weaker defense (weak compared to starting quality point guards on playoff teams).

So back to your point. Yes Lowry starts, gets the most minutes ( but plan on seeing both other pg on the floor on a regular basis).

MemphisX said...

Conley is not a bad defender. Damon is.

I think Conley should start and Lowry should cone off the bench. It should be pointed out that Lowey's worst preseason performance came as a starter. Plus starting Damon over Conley for shooting is just crazy, Damon hasn't shot over 41% in 6 years.

ChipC3 said...

Damon needs to show something tonight bad or I will start agreeing that Lowry should start. Lowry has already won the closers role in my opinion.

Conley needs to show something tonight to show he can play. Throwing out the game in front of his hometown fans Conley hasn't impressed me yet. Damon has outplayed Conley including shooting better and that is knowing Damon hasn't shot well in years.

Conley is the #1 pick but this is the NBA and you don't get nothing on reputation alone. If Damon is playing better than Conley then the Grizzlies should play Damon. Period. Conley should be able to beat out a 34 yr old with a sewn up Patello Tendon or he shouldn't play.

Monkey Boy said...

If you are going to use Lowry was your closer then why wouldn't you use him as your opener? I mean, you don't have Steve Nash coming off the bench to close games. You start your best players period. They need to be on the court as much as possible. Other players need to learn to be sparks.

Spartacus said...

Monkey Boy, how many times do we have to have this same conversation? Some guys are better coming off the bench, even if they are better than the person who starts ahead of them: Vinnie Johnson, Bobby Jones, Manu Ginobili, Jerry Stackhouse, et al. Lowry plays well as a high energy guy off the bench, providing a spark that brings the level of play up a notch. Why mess with that?

ChipC3 said...

Iavaroni announced last night after the game that Damon is the starter and Lowry will be coming off the bench. Conley is not going to be ignored but he has to progress more and Iavaroni isn't going to throw him into the water. He is going to let Mike become adjusted to the water at his own rate.

I hope that gives some credence to my opinion that you start the veteran and let the hot hand finish the game. Many nights that just may be Lowry. It may also be Damon who brings a far better distance shooting game than either Conley or Lowry. Conley will be brought along slowly but I expect him to struggle some this season. His outside shot needs more work, his defense isn't that good yet and his role in the offense is still developing but the potential is awesome with this guy.