Just days after being snubbed as a starter in thee 2021 NBA All-Star game, Damian Lillard was named an All-Star reserve Tuesday.
It’s the 6th time he has received an All-Star nod.
The Blazers point guard is playing at an MVP level.
In 29 games played this season, Lillard is averaging 29.8 points, 7.9 assists, and 4.3 rebounds.
But, just as many felt Lillard was snubbed as a starter in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, he was a shoe-in to make it after coming in third to Luka Doncic in the fan vote and second among current players voting, as well as media members.
Rounding out the Western Conference guards selected this season were Suns point guard Chris Paul and Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell.
Of course, there will always be outrage is and is not selected, and many are pointing toward Suns guard Devin Booker as a notable absence from the list.
Booker had almost double the amount of fan votes as his Suns backcourt mate, Chris Paul.
He’s averaging 24.7 points, 4.3 assists and 3.8 rebounds. Paul is averaging 16.6 points, 8.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game.
You’d think that stats and fan vote would be enough to give Booker the edge.
Booker's in a tough spot.
Is he deserving? Yes. But, Paul is also his teammate.
Damian Lillard was also arguably more deserving early in his career.
These two guards share some similarities in their pursuit to All-Star campaigns.
Lillard, who is in his 9th season in the NBA, has been an All-Star just six times. Of course, the former rookie of the year has a case to make the All-Star Game every season he’s been in the league. But, it took three seasons to make it, and wasn’t even voted in the first time. Lillard was a replacement for an injured Kobe Bryant.
Booker, an NBA All-Rookie First Team recipient himself, as well as Lillard, have been a victim of circumstance.
While both have put up All-Star numbers throughout their career, they have been snubbed by players with tenure in the league, often from larger markets and are not selected, in part, due to the legacy of future Hall of Fame players.
That’s what happened with Lillard when Blake Griffin was injured in for the 2015 All-Star Game. Lillard was competing with the likes of Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul for votes that season.
And that’s what’s happening now with Devin Booker and Chris Paul.
Chris Paul is in his 16th season, is the President of the Player’s Association, and a future Hall of Famer.
From an optics standpoint, there’s no way Chris Paul was going to be left out.
Now, for Booker, not all hope is lost.
With the calf strain and Achilles tendinosis Anthony Davis is experiencing in his right leg, it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to play in the All-Star Game on March 6th in Atlanta.
That opens the door for Devin Booker to replace Davis.
One will recall that Booker replaced Damian Lillard in the 2020 All-Star Game after Lillard sustained a groin injury just before the All-Star break. In fact, Lillard openly campaigned for Booker to replace him.
So, Booker is likely on his way to another All-Star appearance, even if he took the long road to get there.
Until the likes of Chris Paul retire, Devin Booker will have to be patient.
Even if he deserves it more.