Damian Lillard has yet again missed the All-Star Game. The 2017 NBA All-Star reserves were announced on Thursday with Lillard losing out to the backcourt duo of Russell Westbrook and Klay Thompson, and wildcards DeAndre Jordan and Gordon Hayward.
That’s a big deal considering the Portland Trail Blazers star is the first player since Purvis Short in 1986 to miss the All-Star Game while averaging better than 25 points per-game, a fact pointed out by SB Nation.
Lillard and teammate CJ McCollum both missed out on coaches voting, perhaps signaling to the duo that winning — or defense — weighed a heavy factor for teamrunners.
Portland has been disappointing this season, collecting a record of just 20-27 after an uplifting year in 2015-16. Lillard, however, has continued to put up numbers, averaging 26.2 points, 5.8 assists, and 4.8 rebounds per-game.
Blazers fans and teammates were perplexed by the decision to leave Lillard and McCollum off the roster:
The best argument here would be that Lillard should have made it over Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson, who isn’t even in the Top 3 most important players on his team.
Still, Lillard has stepped back statistically this season just a smidge, even if his craftiness has improved greatly this year. His assist totals are down, but Lillard’s frequency in getting to the line and reducing his turnovers has been a big reason why he’s actually more offensively efficient than he was last season.
All-Star rosters are certainly something we can all argue about until the cows come home — I’m sure many more will have issues with Jordan making the cut as well — but for now I’m just excited to see what kind of diss rap Lillard comes out with after being held out of normal All-Star voting for the third season in a row.