In Kyle Lowry’s first game against Toronto as an opponent last year, following his nine-season run as the Raptor that made him the consensus greatest player in franchise history, the point guard got to see one of his team records broken. Fred VanVleet scored his 239th 3-pointer of the season, surpassing Lowry’s record set in 2017-18. VanVleet finished the season with 242 3s.
“I’m happy and proud of him that he broke my single season (record) by 3 seconds,” Lowry said. “He’s going to keep building that. That’s one less record than I’m glad he has.
Considering his quality, it’s surprising that Lowry doesn’t have a ton of Raptors records in a single season. He had three triple-doubles in 2017-18, the most for a Raptor in a year. Other than that, he has no notable single-season record. (I’m sure he leads charges fired and I’m almost as sure he has the record for technical fouls, but I declare those stats less than notable and certainly not well-watched.) However, his 601 career games in as the Raptor, second only to DeMar DeRozan’s 675, helped him earn a lot of career bests.
Some of them won’t be safe for long, though. With Lowry set to return to Toronto as a member of the Miami Heat for the second time on Wednesday, here’s a subjective ranking of Lowry’s franchise records, from those that appear to be most in jeopardy to those that appear to be doing so. be safe the longest – maybe indefinitely.
(All stats via Basketball Reference.)
6. Personal fouls
Lowry record: 1,769
Best competitor: Pascal Siakam, 1,113
During his nearly 21,000 minutes as a Raptor, Lowry averaged a foul approximately every 11.8 minutes. In addition to 12,000 minutes, that’s one foul every 10.8 minutes for Siakam. Anecdotally, Siakam is often in trouble, and he’s going to be consistently logging many minutes for the Raptors, likely for years to come.
To start his career, Scottie Barnes averaged one foul every 14.2 minutes. OG Anunoby is one foul every 11.7 minutes, but he will need to stay much healthier than he needs to get closer. Fred VanVleet is the least foul-prone of the group, committing a foul every 14.3 minutes. He is only at 713 career fouls, so he would need six or seven more seasons in Toronto for which he played around 65 games a year to have a chance.
Lowry record: 16
Best Competitor: Scottie Barnes, 1
In case you were wondering, Lowry’s triple-double record isn’t the lowest of any team. The Grizzlies (Marc Gasol, five), Jazz (Pete Maravich, seven), Hornets (Anthony Mason, seven), Hawks (
pearl jam Mookie Blaylock, seven), Clippers (tied three-to-seven), Magic (Elfrid Payton!!!, eight), Hornets/Pelicans (Chris Paul, 11) and Heat (Jimmy Butler, 11) all have inferior franchise leaders at Lowry. The Raptors have gone so long between non-Lowry triple-doubles — from Jose Calderon’s last in 2012 to Siakam’s first in 2021 — that Lowry’s record seems so disappointing.
That said, Siakam, who is now second in franchise history with five, and Barnes have a chance to pass Lowry. Who knows – with the way Siakam was playing to start the season, he could get closer by the end of the season if he comes back from injury soon enough. However, Barnes is so good at rebounding and passing that I could see him putting on a ton when he was peaking. Assuming his peak is in Toronto, I’ll take Barnes to finish ahead of Siakam, and both to pass Lowry at some point.
4. 3 point field goals
Lowry record: 1,518
Best competitor: Fred VanVleet, 828
At the surface level, VanVleet is just halfway past Lowry, suggesting that VanVleet could take a long time to catch up with Lowry. Obviously, the frequency changes the calculation a lot here. VanVleet has averaged more than nine 3-point attempts (and more than three makes) per game over the past two seasons. Even this year, with his usage down, he’s getting 8.3 attempts per game. Lowry peaked at eight attempts per game and 3.2 makes.
Conservatively, let’s list VanVleet for 150 3-pointers per season (he hit 174 in 52 games in 2020-21 and 242 in 65 games last season). That means he would pass Lowry towards the end of the 2026-27 season, when VanVleet is 33. It seems quite doable.
Lowry record: 873
Best competitor: Fred VanVleet, 462
Anunoby averages one flight every 13.3 minutes this year. For comparison, he averages about one every 23 minutes for his career, about the same rate as Lowry for his Raptors career. VanVleet checks in closer to once every 22 minutes. If Anunoby hits 2,200 minutes — a number he’s never reached, but is close to reaching if he plays around 65 games — this year, he would end up with around 165 steals this year. Only two players, Doug Christie and Alvin Robertson, have ever reached that number as a Raptor. If Anunoby remains fully healthy, Christie’s single-season record of 201 in 1996-97 (Christie played 81 games and 3,127 minutes) is in jeopardy.
So it’s easy to do the math and have Anunoby quickly hit Lowry’s mark. However, Anunoby’s steal rate this season is Most likely unsustainable. VanVleet has a 91 steal lead over Anunoby and has a slightly better health record. Also, if I had to choose who will be a Raptor longer right now, I’d take VanVleet over Anunoby, although that’s just a guess.
That, or Anunoby will overtake VanVleet at the start of next season and Lowry in the middle of 2024-25.
2. Earn shares
Lowry record: 74.5
Best competitor: Pascal Siakam, 34.5
Rightly so, given the amount of advanced stats that have underscored Lowry’s value to the Raptors over the years, it’s that record that seems like one of the toughest to topple. Lowry has four of the best eight seasons in franchise history in win shares, and only the best seasons of Vince Carter and Chris Bosh, not to mention Jose Calderon’s 2007-08 season (win share deities look kindly on a 5.38-to-1 assist to turnover ratio and a true shooting percentage of 60.7) interrupt his dominance in the category.
VanVleet has 27.4 win shares and topped 6.7 win shares in one season. He would need to nearly match Lowry’s fullback half of his career to get close, and that’s unlikely for anyone. Siakam is closer at 34.5 and had 9.3 win shares in 2019-20. If he can extend his prime into his mid-30s, he can make it happen.
If we assume a star development for Barnes, he might do it. He started his career with a 6.6-win season, although he contributed to a higher pace last year than this. Assuming the start of this year is just a blip and Barnes turns into a top-20 impact player, he can be listed for eight win shares per season. However, this assumes consistency and health. Even still, it would take him eight years at this rate to get to Lowry. That’s a lot of greatness to take on.
Lowry record: 4,277
Top Competitor: Scottie Barnes, 324
It feels like this record is going to be safe for a long, long time. VanVleet reached 434 assists in a single season which he did last year. He is 2,505 assists behind Lowry. Even if he registers this career high every season, it would take him nearly six more full seasons to pass Lowry. In a Raptors ecosystem that will see Barnes and Siakam get the ball more often, and VanVleet’s minutes will likely drop a bit over the years, his raw assist numbers should drop. All things considered, I’d bet VanVleet needs more than eight seasons to catch up with Lowry. Siakam’s assist rate could be on the rise as he is almost 3,000 assists behind Lowry. He won’t be able to do that unless he has a remarkable end to his career.
That leaves Barnes as the more realistic candidate. This will require Barnes to step into a starring role. However, he registered 256 assists with just 19% usage last year. If Barnes becomes the player the Raptors think he can be, it’s easy to imagine him hitting 6.5 to 7.0 assists per game in a few years. If he can do that, he will get 438 assists per season, assuming 65 games per year. Nine seasons and he will be there.
Like I said: it might take a while.
(Top photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)