When the reserves were announced on Thursday for next month’s All-Star game in Toronto, arguably the most notable name left off the list was Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard. Lillard was selected as a reserve in 2013-14, and named as an injury reserve last season. Speaking to reporters after the snub, Lillard took it in stride.
I wasn’t really surprised by it. You know, I knew that it would be a close decision I guess. I honestly wasn’t surprised by it.
Lillard also said this would be a motivating factor for the Blazers’ push to make the playoffs:
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. 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.
The Blazers’ sub-.500 record is probably the biggest reason why Lillard was left off the team, even though Portland is currently in position to make the playoffs. The new-look, Lillard-led Blazers are exceeding expectations, and that’s in large part because of Lillard. There are a lot of talented guards in the Western Conference, but he should have made it.