Fantasy Focus: Passed Over

The NBA’s lone Canadian franchise hadn’t sent an representative to the All-Star game since Chris Bosh fled for South Beach in 2010.

As the Atlantic Division leading Raptors are closing on in their first post season appearance since 2008, the team finally will be involved at the All-Star showcase, just not their point guard.

Kyle Lowry, 27, is having the best season of his career, but it wasn’t enough for the coaches to choose him even with Derrick Rose, Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo essentially eliminated from contention because of injuries.

Perhaps his failure to be included in the All-Star game was a result from incidents with coaches in his previous two stops, Memphis and Houston, but his play has certainly been exceptional.

Kyle Lowry leads Toronto is minutes played, 3-point field goals, assists and steals this season.

The 7.6 assists Lowry is averaging marks not only a career-high, but the eighth most in the entire NBA.

Along with his lofty assist total, Lowry is averaging 16.8 points on 40.1 percent shooting from 3-point range, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game.

Unlike so many other point guards in the league, Lowry is a remarkable defender, capable of switching off to shooting guards with ease, and Toronto rarely has time for him to be on the bench.

Lowry is playing the exact same amount of minutes as Paul George each night and his 36.3 minutes per game rank as the third most among point guards in the entire NBA.

The week the announcements were made for the All-Star reserves, Lowry made his case, averaging 25 points, 8.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game.

Toronto shooting guard DeMar DeRozan was selected to participate in the 2014 NBA All-Star game, but the Raptors could have easily sent the entire backcourt to New Orleans for the contest.

Biggest Surprise: Rudy Gay– Sacramento Kings

A change of scenery proved to be a necessity for Gay. Ever since joining the Kings, he his playing the most efficient basketball of his eight-year career, as his scoring, shooting and assist averages increased while turning the ball over less. Over his last three games, the small forward is averaging 27 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.3 steals per game.

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Biggest Letdown: Joe Johnson– Brooklyn Nets

Over the past week, Johnson hardly played at an All-Star level. Representing the Eastern Conference for the seventh time in his career, Johnson is averaging just 15.6 and 2.8 assists per game and over the past week, his production was even less. Over his last five games, Johnson is averaging just 9.6 points per game on 36 percent shooting from the field.

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Pick ‘em up: Shannon Brown– San Antonio Spurs

A series of injuries has forced San Antoino to sign Brown, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard, to a 10-day contract. In his Spurs debut, he scored just two points in 14 minutes, but the combination of his consistent play throughout his career plus the impact of playing for the Spurs could make Brown a viable fantasy player in the upcoming weeks.

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Put ‘em down: Nate Robinson– Denver Nuggets

Over 20 percent of Yahoo! fantasy leagues still have an owner with Robinson on the roster, despite undergoing ACL surgery that will keep him out for the rest of the year on Sunday. Robinson made his first start of the season Wednesday against Charlotte, but only played six minutes before suffering the injury.

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Injury Watch: Chris Paul– Los Angeles Clippers

Thirty four appearances were enough for Paul to secure a place among the Western Conference All-Stars this year, but he is unsure if he will be able to return to the city where he began his NBA career. A separated right shoulder has forced him to miss the last 14 games, but reports have surfaced saying he will return Feb. 9th against Philadelphia, good news for fantasy basketball players.

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Stat of the Week: Jeremy Lin– Houston Rockets

There have only been 20 triple-doubles this season as Lin became the 14th different player to accomplish the feat with a 15 point, 11 rebound and 10 assist performance during a victory over the Cavaliers. What made Lin’s performance special was he became the first person since Cedric Maxwell on March 31, 1988 to record a triple-double coming off the bench, as Lin tallied the impressive figures in less than 30 minutes of play.

About Brendan Galella

Brendan Galella founded Shatter the Glass to make the NBA even more accessible to basketball fans. Composing player rankings, team evaluations and intriguing observations, he hopes to turn every reader into a dedicated and educated basketball follower.

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