While Miami Heat star point guard Kyle Lowry seamlessly fit into the franchise culture, a nagging hamstring injury significantly hampered his performance during the playoffs. The 36-year-old veteran appeared overweight and out of shape throughout the postseason, which Heat president Pat Riley addressed during his annual end-of-season press conference.
“The bottom line with me and for me as far as hoping that you can get the most out of a player — is that you got to be in world-class shape. You just have to be,” Riley said almost as a warning to Lowry on June 6, while also noting “I do think that he can be in better shape next year.”
This sentiment was mirrored by an Eastern Conference executive while speaking to Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney during Summer League in Las Vegas.
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“It is easy to pile on him for his conditioning but that’s never been Kyle Lowry, he is a pro all the way,” the exec said. “He was hurt and that affected his ability to get into the kind of shape he wanted to be in. I think everyone knows that, including the Heat, they just want to push him a little harder. He is older, he has a ring, you’ve got make sure he is still hungry.”
“The stuff Riley said about conditioning, that is what it is all about,” he added. “Motivation, keeping that motivation going.”
Getting personally called out by “The Godfather” must’ve been motivation enough because recent photos and videos of Lowry training show him looking absolutely jacked.
While Lowry rarely posts on his personal Instagram and Twitter pages, videos of his workouts with NBA trainer Travis Wallace have gone viral on both social media apps.
Heat Nation was thrilled to see Lowry putting in the work. A popular fan account tweeted, “The league isn’t ready for a ripped Kyle Lowry 🔥,” while Five Reasons Sports Network’s Brady Hawk tweeted, “In-shape Kyle Lowry is the perfect defensive back-court mate next to Donovan Mitchell… I said it.”
Lowry was Disappointed in Himself After Losing Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals
While Lowry’s official NBA profile lists him at 6-foot and 196 pounds, Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson insinuated during the playoffs that there was no way those numbers were still accurate.
But it wasn’t just his weight that was an issue during the postseason. Lowry averaged the least amount of points (7.8) by any starting point guard in 10 games, per the Miami Herald. Of the 86 players who took at least 50 shots during the 2022 playoffs, Lowry’s 29.1% shooting (25-of-86), ranked him dead last.
Lowry, who missed eight of the Heat’s playoff games due to his hamstring injury, was even worse from beyond the arc, shooting 13-of-54, a 24.1% accuracy. After the Boston Celtics successfully punched their ticket to the NBA Finals, Lowry called his first year in Miami a “waste.”
“I wish I would have been able to play a little bit better, at a higher level, but I didn’t,” Lowry said during the postgame press conference, refusing to offer any excuses for his poor performance on the nagging hamstring injury. “It just adds fuel. You don’t know how many more opportunities you will have to get back to this, so for me, honestly it was a waste of a year.”
“I only play to win championships,” Lowry continued. “It was fun, and I appreciate my teammates, and I appreciate the opportunity. But for me, it’s a waste of a year. You’re… not winning a championship, it’s a wasted year.”
NBA fans flooded Twitter throughout the playoffs with comments about Lowry’s weight and his postseason performance. While he put up three points in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and zero points with zero assists in Game 5, Lowry had one of his best playoff performances during Game 7, scoring 15 points with three assists, two steals, and one block.
Riley Stressed the Importance of Being in Shape as an ‘Older’ NBA Player
Riley cut the former NBA champ a little slack in his end-of-the-year assessment, noting how that in addition to injuries, he was dealing with personal issues throughout the year. Lowry missed 17 regular-season games due to a family medical issue.
However, the 77-year-old team president made it clear that neither Lowry nor the Heat has time to wait for him to get back to All-Star shape:
That is something as you get older, there’s a point of diminishing returns as you get a little bit older that when you’re younger you can do things in spite of that. I’m not saying when he was younger he wasn’t in the kind of condition that he was in this year, but he definitely is going to have to address that and it will be addressed… I think he can be in better shape and I do believe that the pain of losing and the reminders that you send out about this might change his mind a little bit.