For the fifth consecutive year, Kyle Lowry had the honour of representing the Toronto Raptors as a member of the NBA All-Star team. With a new coach, new running mate and a number of other changes abound, Lowry's ability to continue to perform at an All-Star level is an outstanding achievement in itself.
When discussing his high-level play, the 13-year veteran credited Nick Nurse's coaching philosophy: "He's letting me do me. He's letting me go out there and giving [me] the opportunity to just be a point guard, play my game, kinda put the guys in situations."
In addition to Nurse, Lowry continued by adding that his teammates have had a hand in the way he's been able to play: "You know with the team we have, it's kind of easy - it's really easy going out there."
Through 47 games this season, Lowry is averaging 14.3 points, 9.2 assists and 4.5 rebounds in just over 34 minutes of action - his 9.2 assists per game are second in the league behind only Russell Westbrook.
Toronto entered the All-Star break with an NBA-best six-game win streak and the league's second-best record at 43-16, which, according to Lowry, are a product of the team being on the same page.
"We're having a great year, we got a bunch of professional guys, we've got some veteran guys. We've got a big goal in hand and I think that makes everything a lot easier to be on the same page."
While they've been on the same page, the Raptors have dealt with a number of injuries this season - the All-Star duo of Lowry and Kawhi Leonard have missed a combined 28 games and reserve guard Fred VanVleet will likely be sidelined until late March after undergoing thumb surgery.
Through the adversity of the injuries, Lowry admits a positive takeaway is the boost in confidence within the players that saw increased time in the lineup: "Everybody had to step up, so everyone has the confidence to go out there, do their job, make some shots, make plays and [understand] that we all believe in each other.
"With injuries coming to myself, Kawhi, us adding Marc, us being [down] to nine players - everyone has the confidence to go out there and just do their job."
With just 23 games remaining in the 2018-19 season, each individual on the Raptors' ability to "do their job" will be key, as the team jockeys for a spot atop the Eastern Conference and prepares to make a deep postseason run.