Lillard: "it feels like I always got to be the fall guy."
Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard has been left off the All Star team for the last two seasons, despite the fact that his numbers are worthy of a spot on the roster.
In the 2015-16 season, Dame averaged career bests in points and assists with 25.1 & 6.8. Last season, he averaged a new career best, 27 points, as well as 5.9 assists and 4.9 rebounds.
Speaking with ESPN, Lillard expressed frustration that he "always got to be the fall guy" when it comes to an All Star caliber player being left off the 12-man roster. The 27-year old stud made back to back All Star teams from 2013-2015, but has been the odd man out ever since.
“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.”
Lillard is up to his usual tricks this season, averaging 25 points, 6.5 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game. He ranks ninth in the league in scoring, and is one of only four players averaging 25 points, four rebounds and six assists, according to ESPN. The other three are Steph Curry, LeBron James and James Harden. Russell Westbrook is right on the cusp, averaging 24.8 points per night.
Although his numbers, once again, seem to warrant a trip to the All Star game, Lillard isn't surprised that Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball has receive more All Star votes. In the second All-Star fan ballot returns, Lillard was eighth among Western Conference guards, with 266,519 votes, nearly 30,000 votes shy of Lonzo.
“He plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the most, if not the most, storied franchises in that big of a market,” Lillard explained to ESPN. “So, so many people are going to support him throughout that, and also with his dad and all the attention that’s been surrounding him since college. There’s a lot of people that follow him, so, that’s not really a surprise to me. The market size and what’s going on with his family, it’s no surprise really to me.”
The 2018 All Star starters will be announced tonight, followed by the 14 reserves, voted on by the NBA coaches, on January 23rd.