After an offseason of changes it was tough to know what to expect from the Houston Rockets early this year. After a sluggish start, they are one of the hottest teams in the NBA. Houston has won seven of their last eight games and put themselves right back in the playoff picture in the tough Western Conference. They don’t have the quintessential “superstar” and they probably can’t keep up their torrid pace, but they might have the most underrated and least talked about player in the NBA with Kyle Lowry.
After a breakout season a year ago, Lowry is stuffing the stat sheet for Houston and should be in the conversation for his first ever All-Star appearance. The Houston floor general is nearly averaging a double-double this season with career highs in minutes per game, points per game, steals per game, assists per game, rebounds per game, free throw percentage, and three point percentage. It took four years for Lowry to finally get his shot at being a full-time NBA point guard. He got that shot last year and has used it as a springboard to a career year.
Kyle Lowry joined KILT in Houston to talk about his play so far this year, whether or not he is playing the best basketball of his career, what he thinks about people overlooking the Rockets because they don’t have a “superstar,” on the amount of time it took for the team to get going, the difference between new coach Kevin McHale and former coach Rick Adelman, and what he thinks of the addition of Samuel Dalembert.
On his play so far this year:
“Just trying to win games. Doing things to help my teammates and I get wins and just get to the playoffs. We haven’t been to them in the last couple of years so get Houston back in the playoffs.”
If he is playing the best basketball of his career:
“Yeah. I mean I believe so. Numbers don’t lie. Just (being) given the opportunity that Coach McHale has given me and the trust that my teammates have given me and the organization, you don’t want to let anyone down. I gotta do what I have to do to prove everyone right for believing in me and just have an opportunity to play a game I love.”
On the perception that Houston can’t keep up the pace because they don’t have a “superstar” player:
“It is what it is. Like you said the perception in the NBA is that. The reality is maybe something different but the perception is pretty much the reality of the NBA. You definitely need those guys who demand the star power but we have a good, hard working team. Myself, Luis (Scola), Kevin (Martin), and Sam, we take pride in who we are and getting the job done how we get it done with what we have.”
On the amount of time it took for the team to get going:
“Yeah it takes a while. New coaching staff, shortened season, shortened camp, having Sam coming in late with his contract situation, it definitely took a while for us to get it going, but we had the number one ranked schedule coming into the season, first ten games of the season so that definitely set us back a little bit. Once we had a chance to hit our stride and everyone got on the same page, Sam got into shape and Coach Mac implemented what he wanted to implement, things started to pick up and turn around.”
On the difference between Kevin McHale and Rick Adelman:
“Oh you know with coach McHale, he’s really hands on and wants to be there all day and talk to you all night. He loves basketball. Rick loves basketball but he’s a professional coach. ‘You have your time to get better. When I come on the floor were ready to go. Im coaching you, we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that when we get on the floor.’ Coach Mac wants to talk to you, he wants to get a feel for you, he wants to really get to know you as a player and talk about basketball all the time. They’re both great, incredible head coaches and I’m lucky to be able to play for both of those guys.”
Whether or not he is surprised by the play of Samuel Dalembert:
“No, I’m not surprised at all. The guy has been in the league ten years now. He’s been shooting that jump-shot a long time. Many people don’t notice that but he’s an NBA player. He works at his game just like everyone else does so he must work on that shot. It goes in and sometimes you saw ‘whoa please don’t. Oh good job (laughing).’ You always have to have confidence in your teammates. He’s a fun loving guy, he’s out there helping us, you see what he’s doing defensively shot blocking and he had 15 rebounds. That’s what he’s doing.”