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Toronto Raptors

Should Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry be a starter in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game?

The NBA will announce the five starters in each conference for the 2020 All-Star Game on Thursday night.

All-Star starters are determined by votes from fans, media and players with the fan vote accounting for 50% and the players/media each accounting for 25%.

In the third and final voting returns released last Thursday, Kyle Lowry ranked fifth among Eastern Conference guards behind Trae Young, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker and Derrick Rose.

Among any position in either conference, the two starting spots for the Eastern Conference guards appear to be the most up in the air with players like Ben Simmons and Bradley Beal also in the mix.

Ahead of Thursday's announcement, we asked three of our writers a simple question: Should Lowry start the All-Star Game?

Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay): I think one of the Raptors should start, but it doesn't have to be Kyle Lowry. I think what Pascal Siakam has done this season makes him a lock to start in the All-Star Game, but I'm indifferent when it comes to Lowry.

Now let's be clear, Kyle Lowry is an All-Star. He's done enough to be invited to the game. As a starter, that's is a different story. Is there a case for him to be a starter? Absolutely.

The Raptors are one of the best teams in the East and Lowry is still one of the best guards in the East. Lowry still has the clutch gene, averaging 3.1 points per game in the last five minutes of close games, which is on par with some of the best closers in the NBA like Chris Paul, Damian Lillard and Antony Davis.

Trae Young may be having a better individual season, but winning is a stat we track and not many guards in the East can couple the production along with the team victories like Lowry can. Maybe I'm talking myself into Lowry being a starter as I write this - as a matter of fact, I am.

Kyle Lowry should start in the All-Star.

Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13): It's really close, but I'm leaning towards no.

Kemba Walker feels like a lock and Ben Simmons has taken his game to another level over the last two weeks to the point where I think it's hard to deny him a starting spot.

The tricky part for me here is that I've come around to the idea of both Simmons and Joel Embiid starting, which in a vacuum makes sense until zooming out and considering the context of their up-and-down season. The 76ers have underachieved and a massive reason for that is the dissonance between their two stars fitting alongside each other.

But here's the thing... the All-Star Game isn't supposed to be a referendum on how guys fit on their actual teams. And for all the talk of how their fit offensively is less than ideal (that's being generous), they are potentially the best one-two punch in the entire league on the defensive end of the floor as both could make a run at All-Defense.

Prior to this most recent stretch, I would have had Lowry in as a starter and Simmons either in as a reserve or potentially out overall. But he's uncorked a six-game stretch without Embiid in which he's averaged 22.7 points on 66% shooting to go along with 10.0 rebounds and 8.2 assists.

That has in my eyes vaulted him past Lowry, who has missed rather significant time himself.

Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): I had Kemba Walker and Bradley Beal as my starters in the Eastern Conference backcourt earlier this month, but quite a lot has changed since then.

Specifically, Lowry and Ben Simmons have taken their games to another level while Beal has missed some time with injury.

Beal still has a strong case to start - he's averaging a career-best 27.5 points per game and has the Wizards punching well above their weight on offence - but I'm now leaning more towards Lowry and Simmons because of how well they've played on teams that are winning games.

So which one of the two makes the cut? Like Carlan, I'm starting to talk myself into Lowry being a starter even though it feels wrong to have two players on the Raptors starting and not one on the 76ers.

Similar to my feeling of having Siakam ahead of Embiid, I don't feel great about it, but Lowry gets my vote over Simmons at the buzzer.

The views expressed here do not represent those of the NBA or its clubs.

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