By Frank McLean
It was one of those things you took for granted was going to happen, but you weren’t quite sure until it was officially announced, the Toronto Raptors Kyle Lowry would be going to his third straight NBA All-Star Game.
Lowry got the word Thursday night that the coaches had voted him on the Eastern Conference roster as a reserve and that he will be joining his Siamese twin in the Raptors backcourt DeMar DeRozan next month in New Orleans.
DeRozan, who had been a reserve last year, was named a starter in the fan/player/media voting two weeks ago.
Lowry has been one of the top guards in the Eastern Conference all season. He has averaged 22.7-points, 4.8 rebounds and 6.9 assists a game. You figured the coaches have got to pick him right?
“Of course I would love to have the fans voted me in,” Lowry was saying to the media on Friday. “But for the coaches to vote you in, it means they respect your game, respect what you bring to the team.”
Meanwhile his coach Dwane Casey was saying he didn’t have to contact his fellow coaches around the league and put in a plug for his player.
“Not much (lobbying) because a lot of (the coaches) said they were all in. Kyle’s numbers and us hovering around second place spoke for itself .”
During his time in Toronto Lowry has become respected around the league. His play, hustle and the extra work he has put in the gym are major factors towards him making his third straight appearance in the All-Star Game.
Before Lowry came to Toronto he played in Memphis where he was drafted out of Villanova and then went to Houston. In both places he came with a reputation as an uncoachable player always arguing about the way he was being used and not going along with the game plan.
Lowry’s story is quite similar to that of another Toronto star of the past, center fielder Devon White of the Blue Jays. White came to the Blue Jays in a trade with the California Angels spent the next five years as an all-star and major part of Toronto’s two MLB World Championship teams.
White arrived in Toronto with the same reputation as Lowry, yet when you saw White play everyday, you saw a hard worker who played the game the right way and was a quality teammate.
When Lowry first arrived from Houston he knew he had a bad rap, but Dwane Casey and Raptors management showed him the right way to be pro and the results are there in black and white.
Lowry is ecstatic that he’s going to game again with his pal DeRozan.
“It feels great. It’s pretty cool to be able to say the things we’ve done from the end of May (including a gold medal win with the US National Basketball team at the Olympics) until now and continue to grow with me and him. It just shows the hard work, the passion, the dedication to be great and to win is there.
“He’s one of my best friends ever. We can hang out, go to dinner, hang out with our families. My first year (with the Raptors) I really didn’t talk to anybody. I was trying to figure (things) out. It just happened to grow and we became leaders of the team, we took that upon ourselves on the basketball court and we developed a great relationship off of it.”
Lowry’s hard work and play on the court during his time in Toronto has made him a respected veteran and player any coach can trust with big minutes during a game.
This coming off season it will be time for Lowry to get the big maximum contract that veteran players get with his numbers.
It’s a no brainer that he will get that respect.