Toronto Raptors guards DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry are brothers and basketball homies in life and sports.
They share an unrivaled chemistry and carry the country Canada on their backs. It's only right that they both represent the Eastern Conference at the NBA's All-Star festivities this weekend, with DeRozan as a starter and Lowry as a reserve.
Their All-Star selections reflect well on one of the NBA's goals, which is for new-school, smaller market teams to be able to compete with the traditional juggernauts.
The duo's presence is long overdue, but right on time as this year's games pop off in Toronto and the national spotlight finally shifts to the Raptors’ versatile and often-ignored backcourt. DeRozan and Lowry were the joint winners of January’s Eastern Conference Player-of-the-Month award and do the heavy lifting for the No. 2 seed in the East.
Since joining Toronto in the 2012-13 season Lowery, an 11-year NBA vet, has been one of the league’s most respected floor generals and he’s gotten better each season since teaming up with Derozan. For the two friends, this joint All-Star moment will be the equivalent of when Mobb Deep dropped Shook Ones.
In the early '90s, the young hip-hop duo from Queensbridge Houses was already making street waves in the rap scene, but their first album wasn’t met with any national acclaim. They were hood stars, still trying to get off the streets and into the executive suites. When Shook Ones hit the concrete, everything changed and Mobb slowly clawed their way to some mainstream respectability.
Similarly, the All-Star game will finally lift Derozan and Lowry off the underground and onto the front page. These boys are wicked good, surpassed only by The Splash Brothers as the league’s most lethal backcourt.
While Curry and Thompson are known for garnering all of the media love and jacking treys from the rafters and swooshing like a Double Dribble Nintendo game, DeRozan and Lowry are like throwback players, cutting and slashing and swishing and shooting, all the while playing a two-man wrecking-machine game.
It’s the first time since 2001 that two Raptors have been involved in the All-Star game and as a team, the Raptors are on course to break the franchise’s season win total for the third year in row. It's an emergence that coincides with the elevation of execution between DeRozan and Lowry.
This season may be Toronto’s best shot to overtake Cleveland and finally win a conference championship. The dynamic duo’s close friendship creates a chemistry that gives them an advantage that the seemingly emotionally fractured Cavs don’t share.
Lowry, whose numbers have gone from really solid to elite this season while averaging 21 ppg, almost five boards and six assists, is like a locomotive train at times. DeRozan has spent his entire 7-year career with Toronto and has ascended to supreme scorer status.
The stage is set for Toronto’s All-Stars to give NBA fans across the world an introduction to their kind of funky, because it’s collard green-kicking good and those boys just can’t take a backseat any longer.