Nothing is worse for opposing teams than Damian Lillard playing with a chip on his shoulder.
Now, they’re about to witness mad Dame first-hand.
The NBA presented its list of All-Star Game starters on Thursday night and the Trail Blazers star was a surprise snub from the list once again. While Lillard trailed Luka Doncic in the final fan vote by 486,379 votes, Lillard came away No. 2 overall with the player vote and No. 2 in the media rank. He also finished No. 3 in the fan vote.
“He is one of the top 5 basketball players in the world,” Kenny Smith said on NBA on TNT. “And if you can’t even start in your conference if you are one of the top 5 basketball players in the world, that doesn’t make sense to me.”
Doncic ranked No. 2 in the fan vote and No. 3 in both the player vote and No. 3 in the media ranking. At first look, you’d see that Lillard hit one mark higher than Doncic overall, but that’s now how NBA fan voting works.
The fan vote accounts for 50 percent of the total vote, 25 percent is determined by the player vote, and the other 25 percent is chosen by the media. Considering Lillard and Doncic were tied, the NBA decided to let the winner of the fan vote be the ultimate tie-breaker.
This became Lillard’s downfall.
But honestly, what the heck?! How does someone who secures two of the three categories, who has the respect of his peers and sees what he does first-hand not get the nod?
This system is so flawed.
Because of the fan vote, the guards with teams ranked 7th and 10th in the Western Conference are starting over Lillard who has led his team to the 4th best record in the West.
The fan vote numbers have been dwindling for years, but the biggest problem comes with fans continuing to vote undeserving players on All-Star rosters.
One solution? Take fans out of the equation completely. No this isn’t because they aren’t voting enough, it’s because there is an imbalance that is heavily weighted to favor bigger market teams. There are more fans of those bigger market teams, and fans are not impartial.
Dallas is the 5th largest TV market in the country. Portland is 22nd.
And Luka Doncic commanded the European vote, as well.
The numbers were stacked against Lillard from the get-go.
This isn’t likely to sit well with everyone-- mainly fans-- but until the system changes, players like Lillard will continue to be at a disadvantage when it comes to All-Star voting.
The good news for Trail Blazers fans? Lillard is already having a career year with 29.8 points, 7.7 assists, and 4.4 rebounds per game and the NBA just added more wood to his fire. He’ll make sure this is the last time he gets overlooked.