The result we all expected, yet lamented.
DeMar DeRozan, I’m told, is an East All-Star. Hearing Kyle Lowry did not
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) January 30, 2014
Before I go on, I want to state for the record that this is good news, and I would like to congratulate DeMar DeRozan on making his first ever All-Star team. He has been fairly productive this season and he is the leading scorer on a third-place team. Regardless of the context surrounding the aforementioned statement, it is still a huge accomplishment and we should feel happy and proud of DeRozan. He has come a long way from being the jumper-less slasher in his rookie season, to becoming the offensive force that he is today. Congratulations DeMar DeRozan for making the 2014 NBA All-Star game!
However, if you’d allow, I’d like to get up onto my soapbox just one more time for Kyle Lowry, who in my opinion, was the biggest snub in the Eastern Conference (Blake’s got an indepth post dropping tomorrow, so this is mostly just for us to vent).
Look, there are some circumstantial reasons that could potentially explain why Lowry was omitted. First off, the reserves are selected by each conferences’ head coaches, and Lowry hasn’t exactly shied away from clashing with coaches (notably in Houston with Kevin McHale). Reputations endure, as do grudges.
Second, Lowry’s raw per-game numbers aren’t that spectacular. 16 points and 8 assists per game doesn’t necessarily jump off the page at anyone, well anyone without a brain that is. I find it hard to believe that coaches still put too much stock into raw numbers, but if they do, that could potentially explain Lowry’s absence.
Third, perhaps NBA coaches simply split the Toronto vote between Lowry and Derozan. Perhaps some of the coaches looked at this team and decided that a near .500 club only deserved one All-Star representative, and it just so happened that DeRozan received a lion’s share of the votes.
Finally, maybe some coaches genuinely felt that a guy like Joe Johnson deserved it more than him on merit alone. Apparently, they’re still in 2009 and my mind isn’t splattered all over this keyboard (but then how am I typing?).
Obviously, all of the above is pure crap because All-Stars should be selected on merit, not circumstance. Was Lowry one of the best guard in the East? Undoubtedly, yes, and any NBA observer — not just Raptors fans — would agree. Lowry is better both on, and off the statsheet than either DeRozan and Johnson. Have a look for yourself — it’s not even close (per game averages and advanced stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference):
And sure, numbers aren’t everything — there’s something to be said about the intangibles that lay outside of the boxscore — but as a Raptors fan, you know that Lowry gives you everything you’d want in terms of intangibles. He plays great defense, he’s a steady floor-general, he supports his teammates, and he leads the league in charges taken. If we’re going on merit alone, Lowry makes the team, no doubt about it.
But unfortunately, the formula for All-Star includes more than merit, and it is for that, and a million other reasons, why the title of “All-Star player” means jack little, because in my books, a player like Kyle Lowry is a million times the All-Star that Joe Johnson is.
Before we go, one more time for DeMar DeRozan. Don’t be like me — don’t forget about his accomplishments because you’re fuming over Lowry’s omissions. I warms me tremendously to know that a player like DeMar was rewarded for all his hard work over the years. I hope recognition simply motivates him to keep working to improve, and I am proud to have DeRozan represent the Raptors at the All-Star game. It’s been a long time coming, Congratulations, DeMar!