Trail Blazers

Why Damian Lillard wasn't surprised or upset by latest All-Star Starter snub

Trail Blazers

Thursday, the NBA revealed the list of starters for the 2021 NBA All-Star game. 

To many around the Pacific Northwest and beyond, it was astounding that Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard was left off the list.   

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Instead, Stephen Curry and Luka Doncic were named starters.

West All-Star Starters: LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Curry, and Luka Doncic. 

Eastern All-Star Starters: Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Joel Embiid.

Just like last year, Lillard trailed Doncic in the fan vote ranking No. 3 overall.

He did rank second in the player ranking and media voting though. Yet, since the two players were tied, the fan vote was the tiebreaker.

 

Doncic is averaging 29.1 points with 8.6 rebounds and 9.4 assists on the season while his team has not lived up to expectations with a 13-15 overall record.

And many point to the team results as being one of the reasons why Doncic shouldn’t be a starter this year.

But what does Lillard think?

He isn’t surprised by the results. 

“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.”

I wasn’t upset about it. I don’t even have cable at my house right now. So I was sitting there feeding my kids and people started calling me.

Damian Lillard

The Trail Blazers haven’t had a player voted as an All-Star starter since Clyde Drexler started the 1994 All-Star game.

So far this season, Lillard has put the short-handed Blazers on his back with his scoring, playmaking, and clutch buckets late in games leading Portland to an 18-10 record.

This is his sixth All-Star nod.

He’s averaging 29.8 points, 7.7 assists, and 4.4 rebounds per game while ranking third in the NBA in scoring and second in three-pointers made with 112. Not to mention his clutch gene is on a whole other level.

https://www.nbcsports.com/northwest/trail-blazers/proof-trail-blazers-pg-damian-lillard-most-clutch-player-nba

And yet, he’s still not an All-Star starter?

Lillard explained in more detail why this isn’t shocking news.  

That’s just what the reality is. I think for a lot of people who are saying that, they’ve taken notice of what I’ve done in the Bubble and what I’ve done this year.

Damian Lillard on many being surprised he wasn't name a starter

“Even before the NBA, I’ve always been the person to get a shorter end of the stick. That’s kind of like my story.”

 

Lillard's story for those who don't know goes like this -- He didn't get heavily recruited out of his high school and then after attending Weber State, Lillard says, “even when I was the sixth pick in the draft nobody really knew who I was… Now that I’m 30, and I’m not starting the All-Star game, I’m not moved by it. And part of that is because it’s always been that way.”

Lillard also added with a smile, “To other people, it’s new for them.”

For Portland’s head coach Terry Stotts, he wants people to take the fan voting with a grain of salt.

“The voting is what it is and fan voting has always been a part of the All-Star game and we take that for what it’s worth,” Stotts said.

I think we all realize that Dame is the best point guard in the league right now and he should’ve been a starter.

Terry Stotts

And even though Lillard says he was not surprised or upset by the announcement of the All-Star starters, it’s still hard to believe that this wouldn’t add fuel to Lillard’s fire.

The Wizards and Russell Westbrook better come ready Saturday.