One of the biggest questions facing the Raptors after their NBA Championship win in the summer of 2019 was how they could go on without Kawhi Leonard. So far, the franchise is doing pretty well without its former star. Coach Nick Nurse said on February 12 that he believes Kyle Lowry's winning attitude is a major reason for their continued success.
Speaking on ESPN's "First Take" on Wednesday, February 12, Nurse was asked if he could explain how the Raptors have managed to hold a better record now than they could with The Boardman on the team.
While he trotted out his usual compliments of his team's defensive abilities, he was pushed to name the team's most valuable player of the post-Kawhi era.
And the Iowan didn't seem to take too much prompting to name Raptors cornerstone Lowry as the difference-maker.
"If I had to pick a player, I’d say Lowry," Nurse said. "Kyle Lowry, I know it’s his sixth All-Star (year) but he does things that are all about winning.
"I’ve never seen a guy play harder on the court than this guy and he continues to do it night after night and it rubs off on the rest of the guys."
Lowry's work ethic, as well as his love for the Raptors, seems famous.
Just last month, former Raptor Vince Carter insisted the Philadelphia native should be considered the franchise's GOAT.
Meanwhile, the team's fitness guru Alex McKechnie, who won a bunch of championship rings with the LA Lakers, said Lowry's unwavering drive to succeed reminds him uncannily of the late Kobe Bryant.
There's respect for KLow from opponents, too. Brampton's own Tristan Thompson said recently he believes the point guard is the Raps' "backbone".
Nurse has gushed about Lowry in the past, and it appears the respect is mutual.
In a clip posted by the Raptors after KLow's sixth All-Star berth confirmation, the 33-year-old is urging his teammates to make sure they win to propel Nurse to the annual showpiece.
Meanwhile, during his chat with "First Take," Nurse also gave his thoughts on the scarf craze that has swept Scotiabank Arena in recent weeks.
"These guys really like each other," he said. "The locker room is an enjoyable place to be.
"I think what makes it enjoyable is we’ve got some guys who are pretty serious, and they go compete, they love to compete and they try to figure out how to win. They do it with a smile on their face most of the time and pick each other up."