The Toronto Raptors Talk The NBA All-Star Vote

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As fan voting for the 2015 NBA All-Star Weekend nears an end, the basketball world is getting excited to see which superstars will be playing at New York’s Madison Square Garden, and who will be staying home. For players on the Toronto Raptors, like many others lining the NBA’s rosters, it’s practically a non-issue. They simply want to see their teammates take home the honours.
 
Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images
 

After Wednesday’s 100-84 win against the Philadelphia 76ers, power forward and centre Patrick Patterson made it clear that he’s gunning for DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. “They’re leaders on this team. They’re superstars in my eyes,” he said. “With the performance that they’ve been displaying throughout the course of the season, I just really like the type of players that they’ve developed into. Being All-Stars is something that should be definitely on their resume.”

Similarly, Amir Johnson wouldn’t mind a Canadian reproduction of the 2005-06 Detroit Pistons’ fortunes, which saw four out of the team’s five starters named to the All-Star roster. “I thought, ‘Man, wow, that’s unbelievable to have your whole team be All-Stars,’” he said of his teammates at the team. “That’s what a team should be. Everybody shares the ball, everybody plays in All-Star.”

Jonas Valanciunas? “I would vote for everybody.”

As politically correct as their fist-pumping sounds, it’s clear that their sentiment goes well beyond team loyalty. Franchises across the league have grown to recognize the Raptor’s empirically top-tier talent for what it is. The defending Atlantic Division champions are currently third in their conference with a 27-12 record.

 Photo: NBA.com 
 
Appropriately, Toronto Raptors players have earned themselves a major percentage of the fan votes so far. The most recent All-Star ballot results issued on Jan. 8 pegged Kyle Lowry in third place among Eastern Conference guards with 406,974 votes. He was trailing behind 10-time NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade by just over 100,000 votes. Lou Williams (43,652 votes) was seventh among guards, and DeMar DeRozan’s (97,093 votes) standing was pegged at eighth, likely due to to a recent 21-game injury absence that ended last night. Jonas Valanciunas was himself eighth on the frontcourt ballot with 139,307 votes. It’s a different picture compared to last year, when only DeRozan made the chart.
 
John Wall and Steph Curry (the latter edging out Kobe Bryant) topped the Eastern and Western Conference guards ballots, respectively. The top frontcourt candidates were the east’s LeBron James and the west’s Anthony Davis.

This is probably music to the ears of last year’s NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest champion, Terrence Ross. Like other teammates, including Jonas Valanciunas (“I don’t have favourites on other teams”), he’s not looking to other cities for All-Stars. Instead, Ross is more concerned about Kyle Lowry netting the honour.

“I just tell everyone to vote for Kyle,” he said. “‘Make sure Kyle gets in.’”

Lowry’s standing moved up from fourth to third shortly after Raptors coach Dwane Casey made his now-famous remark that he’d have “to get in a physical fight” with his fellow coaches should the guard fail to make All-Star in 2015. Last year, Lowry was bumped off despite putting up numbers on par with his most recent figures. He’s currently averaging 20.3 points, 7.8 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game, according to ESPN.

 Photo: Gad Elmaleh/BALLnROLL.com 
 
We asked Johnson if he thought the league’s new product had any All-Star potential among its ranks.
 
“[Cleveland’s Andrew] Wiggins, I think he’s going to be in the dunk contest this year. I don’t see why not,” he said, adding that Jabari Parker of the Milwaukee Bucks has also impressed him. “Great player, great young talent.”

Only Patrick Patterson would admit he’d vote for players other than his immediate teammates—he’d consider ballers he’d played with during his college days, including John Wall and Eric Bledsoe. “Nobody else,” he said with emphasis.

Fans still have a few more days before polls close Monday, Jan. 19, to decide which players will represent the two conference teams at the 2015 All-Star Weekend. Finalists will be selected from the winners, and the starting line-ups will be announced live on TNT on Jan. 22 during a one-hour special dedicated to the unveiling.

Head over to the NBA’s website to cast your votes. 
 
 
Your guide to the All-Star Weekend
BALLnROLL brings you exclusive access to the All-Star game and events, complete with game recaps, cool moments and photos
Posted on Feb 13, 2014
 
Success is no fluke for the potential 2014 All-Star
INTERVIEW: The Toronto Raptors’ shooting guard talks his 40-point career high, loyalty to his fans and the moment his game ‘slowed down’
Posted on Jan 26, 2014
 
The defending division champs still have a lot to prove to the NBA
INTERVIEW: Coach Dwane Casey, Kyle Lowry and more Raps open up about the pressure to outdo last season’s playoffs performance
Posted on Oct 2, 2014

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