Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard is typically thought of as an All-Star-caliber player. And he is one. But he hasn’t actually made an All-Star Game since 2015. The reason for that is clear: The Western Conference is absolutely loaded, and there are only four guard spots on the roster (plus two wildcard spots). Lillard is tired of missing out on All-Star Games, he tells ESPN’s Chris Haynes:
“I’ve gotten frustrated just for the fact that it feels like I always got to be the fall guy and every other guy has been deserving,” Lillard tells ESPN. “In the past, the thing has been, ‘All right, my team has been 10 games under .500 or not in the playoffs,’ but every year we’ve found a way to be in the postseason, and this year I think we’re in much better position than we have been in the past two seasons that I didn’t make it. I think I’ve gotten over the emotional part of it the last few times that I didn’t make it. Now I’m kind of like expecting it to go that way, but I feel like I should be there.”
The All-Star Starters were revealed on Thursday, but the reserves – chosen by the coaches – have yet to be selected.
Lillard certainly has a case to make as far as his All-Star candidacy goes. Though his numbers are mostly down from last season, he’s still averaging 25 points and 6.5 assists per game – that’s pretty damn good, even if his efficiency is nothing to write home about. Plus the Blazers are three games over .500, good for sixth in the West.
For what it’s worth, the Def Pen 2018 NBA All-Star picks had Lillard projected to be a bench player for the All-Star Game, and those picks accurately predicted each starter for both conferences.