Damian Lillard is having a spectacular season.
The five-time All-Star is averaging 29.8 points and 7.7 assists while hitting ridiculous shots for a Portland Trail Blazers team that's started 18-10 despite serious injuries to starters C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic.
Some thought this would be the year he finally earned a spot among All-Star starters.
It is not.
When the NBA announced the starters for next month's All-Star Game on Thursday, Stephen Curry and Luka Doncic got the nod over Lillard among Western Conference guards. Lillard will surely earn a reserve role, a position the Blazers are none too pleased with.
Trail Blazers are not impressed
For the Blazers and their fans, it's understandably frustrating to watch Lillard develop into a transcendent offensive talent without gaining recognition among the NBA's top tier as an All-Star starter. To be fair, one of his five All-NBA nods landed him on the first team in 2018 — and that's a more prestigious honor.
But seeing him benched behind Curry and Doncic this season isn't cutting it for Lillard's advocates. Curry's in the midst of a historic offensive run and putting up numbers that rank among his career best.
Stephen Curry has scored 25+ points on 50% shooting or better in 10 straight games.
The last guard to do this was Michael Jordan (11 straight in 1995-96). pic.twitter.com/ag9tu3jgb8
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) February 16, 2021
He was a shoe-in. The Blazers beef is more targeted at the Doncic selection.
Does Dame deserve nod over Luka?
Doncic, like Lillard, is putting up absurd numbers, averaging 29.1 points, 9.4 assists and 8.6 rebounds per game. But he's fallen short of his preseason MVP hype as his Dallas Mavericks have stumbled to a 13-15 start that has them on the fringe of the playoff play-in conversation.
And this is where Lillard supporters argue he has the edge. Players and media agreed that Lillard deserved the nod over Doncic, voting him ahead of his Mavericks rival. But the weighted All-Star voting favors fan voting and gives them the tiebreaker, which pushed Doncic past Lillard in the final tally.
Western Conference All-Star voting results: pic.twitter.com/qwAR55raBZ
— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) February 19, 2021
The good news for Blazers fans is that the perceived snub should provide more fuel for Lillard, who tends to play well with a chip on his shoulder.
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