Chris Paul endorses Raptors’ Lowry for Team USA after withdrawing

Gunshots or jubilant Raptors fans? The police were called to find out. (Chris Young/CP)

When the 30 finalists for USA Basketball’s Olympic team were unveiled, the lone representative from the Toronto Raptors was DeMar DeRozan.

Los Angeles Clippers superstar Chris Paul believes there should be a second Raptor competing for a shot to play in Rio.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins, Paul announced he is withdrawing from consideration for a spot on the team and specifically mentioned all-star point guard Kyle Lowry as a candidate to fill his spot at the camp.

“Someone else I think would be great is Kyle Lowry,” Paul told Jenkins. “I love watching him play. You need that grit.”

Lowry, 30, has never been invited to a Team USA selection camp.

Jerry Colangelo, director of USA Basketball, revamped the program in 2006, asking players to make a three-year commitment to the team, covering off both the FIBA world championships and the Olympic Games.

Paul has been a mainstay of Team USA since he first came into the NBA in 2005, with two Olympic golds and a FIBA world championship bronze to his name.

The Raptors point guard would be a worthy replacement for Paul as he’s enjoying a career-best season with averages of 21.6 points, 6.5 assists and 2.1 steals per game for a Toronto team that currently sits second in the Eastern Conference and on the verge of a franchise-record 50 wins with nine games left.

Should he get the invite, however, Lowry will be in for some stiff competition with point guards Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, John Wall, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard and Mike Conley already in the mix.

Regardless if he were to make the team or not, it’s a huge honour to be selected for Team USA Olympic camp and with such a glowing endorsement behind him from one of USA Basketball’s favourites, Lowry should start getting his hopes up that he’ll be getting a call soon.