Though they haven’t been able to share a court much lately, the Raptors’ Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam are having All-Star caliber seasons. Yes, Lowry missed a chunk of time from a busted hand, and Siakam is currently off with a groin injury, but together and apart, they are doing the job of NBA stars — playing great basketball for their team and looking great while doing it.
It comes as no surprise then that with the first round of NBA All-Star fans votes in this afternoon, both Lowry and Siakam have made their respective top tens. What’s more, Pascal is on the cusp of being voted in as a starter, with the third-most votes amount Eastern Conference frontcourt players. Lowry, meanwhile, is hanging in at number eight in guard voting for the East.
In an interesting twist, the top vote getter so far this year is... Luka Doncic! Dallas’ second-year wunderkind just edged out both Giannis and LeBron, his fellow one-name superstars, for the honour.
A look at the full fan voting results so far is below in the following helpful graphic.
Now, some prognostication. If Siakam was healthy and still playing his brand of electrifying ball during the voting period, I could see him maybe closing the gap on Embiid. It would be tough though, as Joel is one of the bigger and more recognizable stars in the league right now. He’s more established than Siakam — right now, anyway — and that matters in this popularity contest. Still, a third-place finish puts Siakam in the starting lineup. He doesn’t need to pass Embiid, he just needs to hold off Jimmy Butler (no easy task) to keep his spot. Doable, but again I’d feel more confident if Siakam was healthy and playing right now.
(Remember: the fan voting is weighted 50 percent in the overall calculation here. Players and media get 25 percent each to offset the increasingly wacky fan selections — Alex Caruso! Tacko Fall! Ben Simmons! No matter how this voting situation shakes out, Siakam will make the All-Star team.)
The case for Lowry making it as a starter is tougher to see. Trae Young will definitely get in. And Kyrie is hard to bet against, even if it turns out he’s injured by the time of All-Star weekend. Kemba Walker also deserves a spot, and I suppose Simmons (despite my earlier joke) will get a bunch of consideration too. I highly doubt Lowry will be left off the team entirely though, as pretty much everyone in the league now loves him. Is it funny that the same kind of electoral atrophy that saw the likes of Joe Johnson getting picked as an All-Star over Lowry will now slowly come to benefit our beloved point guard more and more as the years pass? No, I love it!
Regardless, this is just the first round of voting. There will be more updates like this leading up to the deadline on Monday, January 20th. Then we prepare for the actual weekend and game, which takes place from February 14th to 16th in Chicago.
With luck, Siakam and Lowry will be there (and healthy!) to represent the Raptors.