Kyle Lowry says Raptors had 'wasted year' after early playoff exit
The Toronto Raptors failed to make the NBA Finals and for Kyle Lowry, that means the 2017-18 season was a "wasted year".
The Raptors - who ended the regular season as the top seed in the Eastern Conference - were swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the playoffs on Monday.
Lowry met with reporters on Tuesday and said he was disappointed with the way the Raptors' season ended.
"For me it was championship or bust, that's what I feel," Lowry said. "That's what I always feel, so a wasted year for me."
The Raptors won a franchise-record 59 games in the regular season and earned the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
They defeated the Washington Wizards in six games in their opening-round series before falling to Cleveland, who won 128-93 on Monday.
"The regular season doesn't matter," Lowry said. "Whatever happens you've got to be ready for this time [of] year, the physical strength. That's what's important."
Toronto have made five consecutive playoff appearances. The Raptors reached the Eastern Conference finals in 2015-16 and have fallen in the second round each of the last two seasons.
Lowry said Toronto had high expectations entering the postseason.
"[Our playoff loss] does feel a lot different because we felt we could possibly make the NBA Finals, that was our goal," Lowry said. "That's always been a real goal for us, that's the only things that matters."
The Raptors have reportedly considered firing head coach Dwane Casey, who has led the team to a 320-238 record in his seven seasons in Toronto.
Lowry said he thinks Casey is one of the best coaches in the NBA.
"We've had our trials and tribulations," Lowry said about Casey. "I wouldn't ever be what I've become without him as my coach. I always believe in him ... He's one of the best coaches I've had."