The NBA announced the starters for the 2016 NBA All-Star game in Toronto on Thursday, and found among them was Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry.
That means that Lowry overcame a 32,000-vote deficit in the final days of voting to jump Kyrie Irving, the Cleveland Cavaliers point guard who is wildly entertaining but has only played 14 games this season. Lowry will start alongside Dwyane Wade, the veteran Miami Heat two-guard who ran away with the voting at the position.
Lowry finished with 646,441 votes, well ahead of Irving’s 580,651. That’s roughly a 98,000-vote swing over the course of a couple of days, so good on all of the Raptors fans who voted aggressively, especially those with larger follower counts who pushed the matter with giveaways (that might be underhanded, and Cavs fans are probably mad, but all’s fair in All-Star voting, or something). This is two years in a row Lowry has used a final-week push to overtake a starter to earn his place. Maybe next year everyone can get on it a little earlier?
I made my case for Lowry to get the nod over Irving, Wade, John Wall, and teammate DeMar DeRozan last week. As a quick refresher, he’s been the best player on the conference’s second-best team, as well as their heart and personality (sappy intangibles!), advanced metrics rank him as a top-10, if not top-five player on the season, and he’s raised the play of most of his teammates to a remarkable degree.. No other guard candidate can boast the on-off impact he can, and he’s right there with the others in terms of box score stats – he’s averaging 20.9 points, five rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 2.3 steals with a 57.2 true-shooting percentage, a 26.4 percent usage rate, and the sixth most minutes played in the NBA.
Thank you fans!! Two years in a row , I never could of imagined this in my wildest dreams!!! I love y’all!! #north
— Kyle Lowry (@Klow7) January 22, 2016
He’s been awesome, and he’s well-deserving of this honor, regardless of where the game is being held. That’s just gravy, as far as his candidacy is concerned. He now joins Vince Carter and Chris Bosh as the franchise’s only multi-time All-Stars, and he could soon be joined by DeRozan (Lowry getting the starting nod also makes it slightly more likely DeRozan gets in, and he seems a safe bet at this point).
DeRozan, by the way, placed fifth among East guards with 444,868 votes.
Also starting for the East will be LeBron James, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony.
On the Western Conference side, Kobe Bryant starting will ruffle some feathers, but given all he’s meant to the league over the past two decades and the fact that he led all vote-getters, I’m fine with the fun/nostalgia starting nod. He’ll be joined by Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard, meaning Draymond Green is the odd man out on account of Bryant’s inclusion (Zaza Pachulia actually topped him in votes, but Green’s the loser on merit).
G: Dwyane Wade
G: Kyle Lowry
FC: LeBron James
FC: Paul George
FC: Carmelo Anthony
G: Steph Curry
G: Russell Westbrook
FC: Kobe Bryant
FC: Kevin Durant
FC: Kawhi Leonard
My entire All-Star ballot can be found here, and it differs from these a little bit