The two Raptors’ cases were very different — united only by the team they played for — and are a reminder that coaches do not always value the same things that outside observers do. Heading into Thursday’s play, Lowry has the highest player efficiency rating of any Eastern Conference point guard, has produced the fifth most win shares in the league (behind four players elected by the fans to start in New Orleans) and is tied with Shane Battier for the most charges drawn by any player. He has been excellent, particularly since the Raptors dealt Rudy Gay to Sacramento.
Joe Johnson: 15.7pts, 3.4rbs, 2.8ast, 0.5stl, 55.3 TS%, 14.9 PER. Kyle Lowry: 16.8pts, 4.3rbs, 7.6ast, 1.6stl, 58.7 TS%, 20.4 PER
— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) January 31, 2014
DeRozan feels that Lowry has an iron-clad case. “You can’t deny what he’s been doing,’ he said.. “You can’t name many point guards in the Eastern Conference that’s playing better than him and that’s winning too at the same time. You can’t, man.” Lowry insisted he wasn’t sweating the announcement, though he’s proud to be in the conversation. “It’s great to be mentioned in a category with such great players, it shows the success of a team when you get consideration as an all-star, it’s just something that shows when you work out, if you work hard, it pays off,” Lowry said.
Joe Johnson over Kyle Lowry is a complete joke.
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) January 31, 2014
“I’m so happy for him, man,” Lowry said. “It just shows the hard work that he’s put in. It’s great for our team, it’s great for the organization, it’s great for the city, it’s great for the country. I’m happy for him. Me, like I said, I’m alright. I’ll be on a beach somewhere hanging out. I’ll watch the all-star game and cheer for him.” Few will argue that Lowry doesn’t deserve the honour. He and DeRozan are the primary reasons the Raptors are where they are in the standings today. You can even make the argument that Lowry has had more of an impact than DeRozan but that’s an argument that could go either way. Suffice to say the Raptors would not be sitting atop the Atlantic division without either man’s contributions. Which just makes the Lowry snub that much tougher to swallow.
If the coaches were intent on only picking one Raptor — for reasons of geography, record, or whatever — then that Raptor should’ve been Lowry. I’m happy for DeRozan, but Lowry has been the best, and most important player on the team, and it’s not really close. He’s also been the best point-guard in the Eastern Conference this season — yes, better than Kyrie Irving, who is a starter for the East. If someone like Lance Stephenson — a vitally important player on the best team in the NBA — had been picked instead of Lowry, I would’ve been okay with it. But Joe Johnson? Perhaps the coaches were confusing his salary for his stats.
The 27-year-old point guard – widely considered to be the most notable name missing from the East team – stood in the lobby of the Raptors’ Denver hotel, looking ahead to his mid-Febrary vacation. He too was not surprised by the result of the voting and if he was disappointed by it, he didn’t show it. “I’m alright,” said Lowry, averaging career-highs in points (16.8), assists (7.6) and three-point shooting (41 per cent) this season. “I’ll be on a beach somewhere hanging out. I’ll watch the All-Star game and cheer for (DeRozan).”
“I was here for our last all-star in Chris Bosh, my rookie year and for five years to go by and me to be the next all-star means a lot,” said DeRozan. “The country’s support means a lot, just to go out there to wear the Toronto heresy on my chest means a lot. I know how passionate our fans are and they’ve been backing us since I got here. Just to give them something like this means a lot.”
— Sid Seixeiro (@Sid_Seixeiro) January 31, 2014
No one expected the Raptors to be good this season, and now they’re leading the Atlantic Division. The Raptors are doing the right thing with molding and building what they have. The Raptors were in dire need for an All-Star this season and may have found it in DeMar DeRozan. He is averaging career-highs across the board with 21.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.6 assist per game. Second-year player Terrence Ross erupted this past weekend against the Clippers for 51 points. Ross is very athletic but needs to keep improving in all areas of the game. If he consistently brings that edge he brought against the Clippers every night, the Raptors will not have any trouble scoring the ball.
It's too bad they don't release how the East coaches voted. Lowry could figure out which teams to get his revenge on.
— Rob Wong (@WongSN590) January 31, 2014
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