Lillard plays for the wrong team in the wrong time zone in the wrong conference. The Portland Trail Blazers are not a glamour bunch. Their home games end when half the country is asleep. And most important, their half of the league is loaded with awesome backcourt players.
The fans actually did a good job by voting Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul as the West’s starting guards, leaving four possible openings for Lillard. West coaches have to pick two guards and two players from any position among their seven reserves, and it’s just not Lillard’s turn – at least not yet.
In all likelihood, the West will have four reserve guards. But those guys figure to be Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Tony Parker and Stephen Curry. All four play for teams better than or as good as Portland, and all four are having better seasons than Lillard.
So Lillard won’t be playing in All-Star Weekend’s big game Sunday. But he will play in the smaller game Friday.
Do you remember how this works? I didn’t. I needed a reminder from a friend at the NBA. The league nominates an equal number of rookies and sophomores, and TNT personalities Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal illustrate why they will never become actual GMs by holding a draft.
Here are the nine rookies that should be selected for the game:
Backcourt: Bradley Beal, Washington; Damian Lillard, Portland; Alexey Shved, Minnesota; Dion Waiters, Cleveland.
Frontcourt: Harrison Barnes, Golden State; Anthony Davis, New Orleans; Andre Drummond, Detroit; Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte; Tyler Zeller, Cleveland.
Toughest Omission: Kyle Singler, Detroit. Maybe he can do trick shots at halftime.
Here are the nine sophomores that should be selected for the game:
Backcourt: Kyrie Irving, Cleveland; Brandon Knight, Detroit; Klay Thompson, Golden State; Kemba Walker, Charlotte.
Frontcourt: Kenneth Faried, Denver; Chandler Parsons, Houston; Tristan Thompson, Cleveland; Nikola Vucevic, Orlando; Derrick Williams, Minnesota.
The total player pool has four point guards, four shooting guards, three small forwards, four power forwards and three centers, with the added bonus of host team representation in Parsons.
Not even Chuck and Shaq could screw this up. We think.
On to the rankings.