Over the past few years, no one has taken charges as frequently as Kyle Lowry. But as he heads toward retirement his charge record could eventually be in jeopardy.
Amid all the hoopla of LeBron James moving up the career scoring list last season, another historic milestone was reached.
On Dec. 19, 2021, Kyle Lowry drew the 252nd charge of his career, passing Ersan Ilyasova and making him the NBA’s charges drawn leader for the play-by-play era (going back to the 2000-01 season when this stat was first trackable). He finished the season with a total of 259 charges drawn.
Lowry is one of just six players in this era with more 150 charges drawn, along with Ilyasova, DeMarcus Cousins, Blake Griffin, Kemba Walker and Thad Young, But even a comparison with that grouping doesn’t really capture how much of an outlier Lowry is. His 259 career charges drawn are more than Nick Collison (eighth all-time) and Kevin Love (12th all-time) combined.
He’s so prolific that his charge-drawing ability has provided enough fodder for multiple written features and a slew of full-length highlight videos of nothing else.
However, while Lowry sits atop the overall leaderboard and has been showered with praise for his charge-drawing ability, there are other ways to slice the data. A blocking foul is the other binary outcome of a collision under the basket and Lowry has been called for 68 blocking fouls over the same era. Players like Montrezl Harrell (6.6) and Kemba Walker (5.5) have both drawn more than 100 career charges and with better ratios of charges to blocking fouls than Lowry’s (3.8). And players like Ilyasova, Harrell and Anthony Tolliver have all drawn charges at a higher rate per minute than Lowry over the course of their careers.
And then there is DeMarcus Cousins.
With 255 charges drawn, he is just a hair behind Lowry on the all-time leaderboard. He has drawn charges at a better rate per minute and he could very well be on an NBA team again next season. He would seem to have as good a chance as anyone to pass Lowry.
But if we look farther off into the future, there were a few other players who could eventually get there. A scan of players who have drawn the most charges over the past five years reveals a few who appear to have the track record and are young enough to possibly get there.
Brunson is an interesting comparison and not just because of the charges, there are a lot of stylistic and aesthetic similarities between him and Lowry. White has been drawing charges at a much higher rate than Lowry, but the barrier is likely to be minutes as he will continue to come off the bench for the Celtics for the next three seasons. With 79 career charges, he still has a lot of ground to make up.
Wagner is extremely interesting simply because of his pace. In his four-year career, he’s drawn 55 charges despite having played just under 3,000 career minutes. If we knew he were likely to get starter minutes over the next decade or so, he would absolutely be in contention for passing Lowry. But that’s far from a sure thing.
Taking a smaller sample size, there were a few players In last year’s rookie class who could be prodigious charge-drawers in the future. Austin Reaves, Davion Mitchell and Alperen Sengun all drew double-digit charges last season.
Reaves may turn out to be in the Wagner boat. His charge-drawing rate is elite but he may never be a player getting starter minutes and it’s possible that he’s even hovering on the fringe of rotations with some teams over the next few years.
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Training camp quick hits from around the league
- Kendrick Nunn is a full participant with the Los Angeles Lakers after missing all of last year and told Kyle Goon he feels great.
- Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard hints at next chapter, citing draft picks and cap space that team would like to use this offseason speaking to Evan Sidery.
- Ben Simmons is attempting threes at practice, watch here. Of note: Simmons was known to attempt shots from distance in the past at practice even when he didn’t deploy the skill in game situations.
Deandre Ayton, Monty Williams friction hints at possible Suns implosion
Deandre Ayton and Monty Williams have not spoken since the Suns Game 7 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the NBA Playoffs last year.
Ayton vowed to be locked in, but sounded like he was unhappy in Phoenix. Williams brushed the issue off and said he hadn’t talked to a “bunch” of players over the summer in an effort to give them some space and let them work independently.
- Deandre Ayton played just 17 minutes in the elimination game against Dallas, scoring 5 points and corraling 4 rebounds. He played fewer than 25 minutes three times in the Mavs series.
- Brian Windhorst reported that Williams was distanced from players who worked out at the facility this summer, as Williams admitted.
- Williams said he and the team addressed the Game 7 loss internally.
- Deandre Ayton was a restricted free agent this summer and nearly went to the Indiana Pacers before the Suns matched.
Lonzo Ball could be out for the season, doctors shocked at lack of injury recovery
Lonzo Ball hasn’t played basketball since January and his recovery process from an injured knee is moving excruciatingly slow. Apparently, even the doctors overseeing his situation are befuddled at why things are taking this long and developing so slowly.
- Asked if he is planning for the potential of Ball being absent for the season, Bulls coach Billy Donovan said, “I think you have to.”
- Last season Ball was the Bulls leading assist man (5.1 per game) and fourth in scoring (13.0 points per game). He was also third in BPM and fourth in value over replacement.
- Ayo Dosunmo is the next man up on the depth chart for the Bulls, and Alex Caruso may be asked to handle the ball more instead of his normal SG slot with Ball out. They also roster veteran Goran Dragic.