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Raptors' Kyle Lowry is transforming into an assists king

Former Nova standout Kyle Lowry is having one of his best seasons but he thinks he can still be better.

Kyle Lowry, the north Philly native is having one of his best seasons yet.
Kyle Lowry, the north Philly native is having one of his best seasons yet.Read moreBrandon Dill / AP

TORONTO -- Don’t make the mistake of telling Kyle Lowry he’s having one of his most efficient seasons. The Toronto Raptors' four-time All-Star point guard will quickly try to correct you.

“I should be making a better percentage from the three[-point line],” Lowry said Wednesday morning. “I should be shooting a better percentage from the field.”

The North Philly native was shooting 44.6 percent from the field and 35.1 percent on three-pointers heading into Wednesday night’s game against the 76ers. His 11.5 shot attempts per game were the fewest since the 2012-13 season, his first in Toronto. Meanwhile, his 6.4 three-pointers per game were the fewest in four seasons.

But the Raptors don’t need to rely on his shooting as in seasons past.

The squad acquired All-Star Kawhi Leonard and sharpshooter Danny Green in a trade with the San Antonio Spurs in the offseason. Meanwhile, Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam are in the midst of career-best scoring seasons.

So Lowry gets to focus more on setting up teammates than looking for his own shot. That’s been a benefit to him and the Raptors.

The former Villanova and Cardinal Dougherty standout led the NBA in assists with an average of 10.3 entering Wednesday’s game. New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday was second at 9.0.

Lowry, a 13th-year veteran, also was averaging 15 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.3 steals. The previous five seasons, he averaged 19 points, 6.9 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1.5 steals.

“It’s just a different year,” Lowry said. “I’m just kind of making sure everybody’s comfortable in their own skin and making sure when the time comes everyone will be comfortable in doing what they need to do.”

The mayor of Toronto

It’s obvious that Amir Johnson is still Toronto’s adopted son.

The Sixers' reserve center couldn’t down the hallways of Scotiabank Arena without being greeted by someone. The 14th-year veteran played for the Raptors from the 2009-10 to the 2014-15 seasons. He still owns a house here.

Folks in Toronto appreciated his blue-collar work ethic and that he never complained about playing through ankle sprains. Most important, they loved how he embraced them.

Toronto-based recording artist Drake is the Raptors' “global ambassador.” So when his album “Nothing Was the Same” was released in September 2013, Johnson bought two record stores out of every CD and handed them out to fans on the streets of Toronto.

Johnson also had an annual Roll With Amir fan event, at which he took Raptors fans out to eat. There were more than 100 fans at the event during his final year in Toronto. Johnson was visible around town. Yet, despite his public desire to remain a Raptor, the team renounced his rights heading in the 2015 free-agency period in order to create space to sign DeMarre Carroll.

Johnson, in turn, took a lucrative two-year deal with the Boston Celtics. He’s in his second season with the Sixers.