Jose Calderon put up a triple-double in the Raptors most recent victory. (Canadian Press)When the Toronto Raptors acquired Kyle Lowry from the Houston Rockets in the 2012 off-season, it was with the hope that the 26-year-old point guard would reinvigorate the team's offence with his speed and tenacity.
Brian Colangelo knew that Lowry had likely only become available for two reasons, the first being that after coming off an injury towards the end of the 2011-2012 season Lowry lost his starting job in the Rockets lineup to teammate Goran Dragic. And secondly — a reason that likely built off the first — the relationship between Lowry and Rockets head coach Kevin McHale had been so fractured that the young point guard told reporters in May that if McHale returned Houston for the 2012-2013 season, he couldn't see himself doing the same.
The Rockets chose to stick with McHale and just over a month after essentially telling the franchise to make a coaching change Lowry was traded to Toronto for Gary Forbes and a first-round pick.
Lowry's impact with the Raptors was instant. In the first game of the 2012-2013 season he nearly carried the Raptors to a win scoring 21 points and adding eight assists and seven rebounds, only to see his team fall short in overtime. National Post sports columnist Bruce Arthur described the performance as a 'much needed breath of fresh air' in a city that so desperately needed one when it came to its sports teams.
Now fast forward approximately two months to the present. Lowry is out with an injury for the second time this season — the first being an ankle sprain and now a torn triceps — and the Raptors are currently riding their first winning streak of the season (if you can call two wins in a row a streak.) Ironically leading the Raptors offence has been veteran point guard Jose Calderon who's making the most of the opportunity and trying to prove he can still be a starting point guard in the NBA.
In the Raptors most recent win, a 103-96 victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday, Calderon scored 18 points and added 14 assists and 10 rebounds for a triple-double. His play in the 10 games he's started this season far exceed what he's been able to accomplish in the 15 games he's come off the bench.
"Let me tell you one thing about Jose, you play with him and he gives you the utmost confidence," DeMar DeRozan told reporters after the Raptors win Sunday. "Since I've been here I've probably seen Jose upset once. He's kind of like the Tim Tebow of the team, he's just a good dude. You're with him and everything is just fine, nothing's wrong. I love Jose, he's a good dude."
Being selfish appears to be the last word a teammate like DeRozan would use to describe Calderon, but Kyle Lowry has already found himself being criticized this season for trying to create and do things all on his own.
In the long term Calderon isn't going to steal the starting point guard job in Toronto away from Lowry. But the Raptors new PG should be taking notes on the play of his veteran backup, and take a closer look the way his team has been playing as of late, not forcing shots and sharing the ball until somebody has an open opportunity, no matter who that someone is.