At least have a look at rogers workflow to get a basic understanding of what you should be doing.
1) Process raws with rawtherapee
2) Stack with DSS
3) Remove gradients (with LR yes)
5) Star diameter reduction/deconvlute etc.
Download and have a look at Unsolds ImagesPlus, it's free now. Used to be a couple hundred dollars?
Roger's approach is controversial and I think its a very bad idea to recommend his methodology to beginners. When I started out I was fascinated by his images. Didn't take long for me to realize that there were several things wrong with his approach.
First of all, he almost exclusively shoots from dark sites where all you have is one light gradient. Yes, even lightroom can get rid of that. Good luck with getting rid of gradients in non-linear images from inside the city.
You talk about understanding workflows, as far as I'm concerned, deconvolution should be applied when the image is in its linear form.
Lastly, all you have to do is compare his images to those of photographers who use the "common" workflow that I mentioned. His images usually are completely over processed in many ways. People can argue all they want but at the end of the day their results matter. And Roger's don't convince me.
No NO, NO !!!!
Never pre- process your RAW images..just load them straight into DSS
Post process with something other than LR....GIMP is better than LR
Listen to this advice, please. Lightroom is barely good enough for mild Landscape/Portrait editing, the only thing it's really good at is batch processing imo.