Damian Lillard: Snub or All-Star?
Damian Lillard: Snub or All-Star?
From year to year, at least one NBA player is snubbed, or not chosen to participate in the league’s All-Star Game who truly deserves it.
The All-Star starters consist of five players from each conference who are chosen by popular fan vote; the other seven slots on the bench are wide open to players chosen by head coaches around the NBA to participate. Portland Trail Blazers star guard Damian Lillard has yet to be chose to an All-Star team in his young, impressive career. Yes, Lillard was an All-Star in 2014 and 2015, but only because he was a fill-in for an injured player both times… We are considering those two selections irrelevant. Lillard hasn’t been selected because of his skill, but simply because the Western Conference is stacked with some of the best guards in the NBA… you’ll need to make noise on the court to be a top guard in the wild wild west.
From this year to last year, Lillard’s statistics were similar around the All-Star break, Gongfu Tea Cup
Lillard is now carrying a much heavier load because of the absence of former Blazers big-man LaMarcus Aldridge, who signed a deal with the San Antonio Spurs. Aldridge and Lillard were considered one of the best one-two punches in the NBA. Lillard, having much more weight on his shoulders is leading Portland to a 27-27 record, hovering around the 7th seed. Lillard’s new partner-in-crime, C.J. McCollum has tremendously been helping the Blazers this year with his much improved minutes, scoring numbers, and shooting percentages.
The duo shoots the ball so well, they are considered the second coming of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson — two teammates dubbed the “Splash Brothers.” At last years NBA All-Star Break, Damian Lillard’s numbers included 21.5 points, 6.3 assists, and 3.8 rebounds for the Portland Trail Blazers. As of early February 2016, Lillard is averaging 24.3 points and 7.3 assists per game, both career-highs. He’s also improving on previous career-high’s in PER, points and assists per minute, and rebounds. The Trail Blazers’ 27-27 record clearly shows how much Lillard means to the team — without him, they wouldn’t come close to a .500 record.
Lillard was named to All-Star rosters in 2014 and 2015, as a fill-in, producing lower numbers than this season. Around that time, Lillard was widely considered the second option on the Portland Trail Blazers next to former running mate and All-Star, LaMarcus Aldridge. Snubbed three straight times, Damian Lillard is so used to it that he turns the negative energy and frustration into fuel to become great.
When asked if the snub will add more fuel to the fire for the second half of the season, Lillard responded, “Yeah.” “Like I said, I feel like I’ve played at an All-Star level; maybe I need to prove me. I’m not sure. I’ll go out there and that wood on the fire will be more for my team,” Lillard said. “I think what I can do now is get this team into the playoffs. Put my energy into that. That’s kinda what I’ll be focusing on,” Lillard finished. Damian Lillard’s words to the media after each snub sometimes consist of complaining, but also pure confidence to get better each and every year.
Some fans have lost respect for Lillard as a person due to all of the complaining through social media, but continue to respect his game. Lillard will effortlessly continue to amaze each time he steps on the basketball court with his impeccable athletic ability, lethal three-point range, and awesome clutch play — he’s young, and still has a ton of time to grow in the NBA. Maybe instead of worrying about being named an All-Star, Lillard will focus on much greater things… an NBA championship or even being named an MVP to shut up all of the haters.
This is a comparison of Derrick Rose’s MVP season and Lillard’s 2015-16 season, so far.