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.
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.
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.
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