The topic of Damian Lillard not receiving a roster spot for the upcoming All-Star game is a debate that will surely continue to gain traction over the next few weeks. Lillard does have a strong case, to be sure, but the Western Conference is brimming with elite talent, especially at the guard position, so someone had to be left out in the cold. We knew this going into the selection process, if we’re being totally honest.
But Lillard’s omission is a head scratcher.
One Eastern Conference assistant coach recently told Basketball Insiders that Lillard “should be considered an early season MVP candidate.” So there is certainly respect for Lillard’s game is around the league.
After news got out that DeMarcus Cousins was Adam Silver’s injury replacement for Kobe Bryant instead of Lillard, the Blazers star posted the following on a (now deleted) Instagram post:
“I just want to thank the coaches who feel I wasn’t good enough, the fans that didn’t think I was good enough, and Adam Silver also for not thinking I was good enough. This isn’t unfamiliar territory for me, it’s actually what my life has been inspired by. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed or that I don’t feel disrespected but it’s not too much to handle. Not the first or last guy to be snubbed. ‘You should have been there’ isn’t good enough for me. But anyway, The reason I’m in these shoes is because I’ve always use the hand I was dealt to my advantage… A wise man once told me… ‘ it ain’t always gone be peaches and cream but somebody has to pay for the reason it’s not … One way or another ‘ … #ImThankful #Real #NonAllStar #RipCity #YellowTape”
To check the pulse in the Blazers’ locker room, Basketball Insiders talked with a couple of Lillard’s teammates to get their opinion of the guard’s “snub” from this year’s festivities.
“He’s been an underdog damn near his whole career. So it’s like another obstacle, another mission in front of him. He has so much dog in him. He’s just so Oakland. His whole attitude is the best. One of the most humble people you will ever meet, but one of the dudes you do not want to see when the ball is thrown up in the air.
“I really, really, really believe he’s going to play with a lot more fire under him and a lot more to prove. Everybody knows that he belongs there. I don’t care what you say. I’m friends with all of these guys who made it, but I feel like he’s put in the work, we have a winning record and are one of the top teams in the West so he needed to be there without a doubt.
“His game will speak for itself from here out. He’s going to downplay it because that’s just the type of dude he is but he’s going to show people through his craft and how he plays on the court – that they made a big, big mistake.”
“It’s an unfortunate situation. There’s snubs every single year. We were all blindsided by it, but whether he makes the All-Star team or not it doesn’t take away what he brings to this team and who he is as a player. This is just another chip to add to his competitive fire. But by no means does an All-Star selection make or break a season.”
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