Derrick Rose may be the MVP, but Kyle Lowry is the better player in 2011-12 (Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE)

Is Kyle Lowry Better Than Derrick Rose?

Each Friday, Pippen Ain’t Easy Fantasy Basketball expert Erik Ong from ‘Give Me The’ gives his analysis from the world of fantasy.

Fantasy basketball doesn’t always mirror real life.

Is Kyle Lowry better than Derrick Rose? The knee-jerk, real-life answer to that would most likely be “No.”

In fantasy basketball, however, Lowry is better than Derrick Rose so far this season.

In a recent post I published in Give Me The Rock, I listed the top 20 point guards in fantasy basketball for the first month of the season (Dec 25 – Jan 25). I used our player rater, which rates players based on their performance across nine categories (PTS, REB, AST, STL, BLK, FG%, FT%, TO), in the Head-to-Head format. It uses per game averages and
compares players versus the “average replacement player”. Basically, what that means is that is it computes how much better (or worse) a player is versus the league averages.

In the said list, Chris Paul wound up sitting atop the list with Kyle Lowry coming in at a close second with 0.2 WARP points behind him. Derrick is a distant third with 0.96 total WARP. This was a surprise and felt like it came out from left field, as we projected Rose to be the number two PG overall this season.

This isn’t an issue about Rose’s missed games, nor about his nagging toe injury. Well the toe only comes into actual play in the context that it affects the reigning MVP’s game. Our rater bases its comparisons on averages and not totals, so Rose’s missed games and consequent lost opportunities to log stats are of no real consequence. Besides, Lowry has only one game played on Rose over the course of the first month.

Let’s break down the numbers and examine what’s causing the gap in their fantasy value.

Points Per Game

Rebounds Per Game Assists Per Game Steals Per Game Blocks Per Game 3PT FG% FT%


Derrick Rose, bulls


3.5 8.3 0.9 0.6 1.6 44.9 88.8


Kyle Lowry, rockets


6.9 8.8 2.0 0.4 1.8 39.6 88.2 3.6

While Derrick is far more productive in scoring and efficiency from knocking down shots from the field, Kyle has a distinct edge in the counting categories of rebounds and steals. Lowry does have a higher turnover rate, but his marginal edge in AST and 3PTM make up for that.

Early analysis has Lowry over performing in rebounds so far this season. He’s rebounding like a small forward or like a younger Jason Kidd. He’s currently outdoing his averages from last season by about 2.8 boards a night. Rose’s steals are down a tad (-0.2), while Lowry’s picking more pockets this season than he did last year (+0.5).

What all this boils down to really are a handful of things. Will Derrick Rose bounce back and be in MVP-contending form once again? You’ll have to ask the doctor looking at his toe, or Derrick himself. More importantly, is this just a hot start or can Lowry maintain his stellar trajectory and performances of elite rebounding (among point guards) and impressive defense (STL)? Time will tell. At the end of the day, is Kyle Lowry better than Derrick Rose in fantasy basketball? The truth is, yes.

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Tags: Derrick Rose Kyle Lowry

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