While there has been plenty of conversation around All-Star Game voting after Damian Lillard was robbed of a starting spot, Luka Doncic admits the Trail Blazers star missed out on a starting position.
On Saturday while speaking with reporters, the Dallas Mavericks guard who beat Lillard out via a tiebreaker, said he believed Lillard was the more deserving choice.
“I didn’t expect that I was going to start this game,” Doncic said. “I know that maybe [Damian] Lillard deserved it more than me.”
Earlier this week, the NBA announced its 10 starters for the 2021 All-Star game on NBA on TNT. During the broadcast, viewers were made aware of a tiebreaker between two players. It was later revealed that Lillard and Doncic were tied after the full voting process, which was a combination of fan, player and media voting.
The fan vote accounts for approximately 50 percent of the total vote while player and media votes each count for 25 percent. Despite Lillard’s dominant play, Doncic won the overall tiebreaker which is based on fan vote. Stephen Curry secured the other backcourt spot in the West.
“When I was younger I cared a lot more,” Lillard said following Friday’s practice. “Obviously, that’s an accomplishment to be an All-Star starter. It’s something that I haven’t done, so of course, I would like to have been named the starter, but I honestly wasn’t surprised.”
While the two players have comparable numbers this year, Doncic totaling 29.1 points, 9.4 assists and 8.6 rebounds and Lillard recording 29.8 points, 7.7 assists and 4.4 rebounds, Lillard’s team has the better record by far.
Without starters CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic in the lineup, Lillard has carried his team to an 18-10 record, they are winners of six-straight games, and Portland is fourth in the West. Doncic’s Dallas squad has a 13-15 record and is 10th in the Western Conference.
It’s certainly not surprising that Doncic opened up about the controversial nod. Nearly the same exact circumstances took place last year when the European sensation beat out Lillard for a starting spot in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game.
Doncic is right, though. Lillard was slighted. But it’s not on him to tell us why Lillard is the more deserving player. If the All-Star Game voting system isn't changed, players like Dame will continue to be snubbed for years to come. Its flawed fan approach favors larger market teams and allows people to cast votes more than once.
Simply put, Dame deserved better.