Blazers guard Damian Lillard leads list of All-Star snubs

Damian Lillard scored a career-high 43 points in a road win against the San Antonio Spurs this season. The Portland Trail Blazers guard also is averaging 21.8 points, 6.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds playing alongside All-Star reserve LaMarcus Aldridge as the Blazers are tied for the Western Conference’s third-best record at 32-14.

But that wasn’t enough to get Lillard to New York for the Feb. 15 All-Star Game as he was one of the most notable snubs after the All-Star reserves were announced Thursday.

When contacted via text about not making the All-Star team, Lillard told Yahoo Sports: “No comment.”

Blazers guard Damian Lillard has a legitimate All-Star case. (USAT)
Blazers guard Damian Lillard has a legitimate All-Star case. (USAT)

The guards the Western Conference coaches selected as reserves were the Houston Rockets’ James Harden, the Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook and the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul. The starting All-Star guards in the West, voted in by the fans, were Golden State’s Stephen Curry and the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, who will miss the game after undergoing shoulder surgery this week.

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver on Friday selected Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins to take Bryant's spot.

Aldridge is the only Blazer to earn All-Star honors, while the injury-plagued Oklahoma City Thunder have two in Westbrook and fellow reserve Kevin Durant despite a 23-23 record that has them outside of the playoffs right now.

“It’s crazy [Lillard] didn’t get in,” Aldridge told Yahoo Sports via text. “He’s played great for us all season and has been one of the reasons for our success.”

Spurs veteran big man Tim Duncan was also named as a reserve Thursday, joining some impressive starting units.


Other notable West snubs

Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley
The case: He doesn’t have a flashy game, but he averages 17.4 points and 5.6 assists on a Grizzlies team with the second-best record in the West (33-12).
The situation: Memphis has only one All-Star in starting frontcourt player Marc Gasol.

Houston center Dwight Howard
The case: He’s averaging 16.3 points and 11 rebounds, and the Rockets only have one West All-Star (Harden) despite having a strong record (32-14).
The situation: Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Howard could miss extended time because of a right knee injury.

In the East, the biggest surprise was the Miami Heat landing two All-Star reserves – guard Dwyane Wade and forward Chris Bosh – despite having a 20-25 record. Wade, however, said Thursday that he is out indefinitely becaue of a hamstring injury and could miss the All-Star Game. The rest of the East reserves: Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler, and Hawks frontcourt players Al Horford and Paul Millsap.


Notable East snubs

Atlanta Hawks guard Kyle Korver
The case: The Hawks are seven games ahead of the second-place Toronto Raptors in the East, and Korver is averaging 13 points and 3.1 3-pointers per game.
The situation: If Korver replaces Wade, the Hawks will be the first NBA team with four All-Star reserves since the Detroit Pistons in 2006.

Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Knight
The case: He was passed over in the East despite leading the Bucks to a surprising 23-22 record and with the team losing heralded rookie Jabari Parker for the season to a knee injury. Knight is averaging 17.9 points and 5.1 assists per game.
The situation: He is a candidate to replace Wade, but he doesn’t bring much name recognition.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love
The case: He was passed over despite averaging 17.1 points and 10.3 rebounds as the Cavaliers’ third offensive option.
The situation: An argument could be made that Love was more deserving than Bosh, but do the 27-20 Cavs really need three All-Stars?


Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic
The case: He’s averaging 19.5 points and 11.2 rebounds.
The situation: The Orlando Magic’s 15-33 record was too much to overcome.

Bulls guard Derrick Rose
The case: He’s averaging 18.6 points and 4.9 assists after missing most of the past two seasons with knee injuries.
The situation: He’s not the best all-around guard on his own team as he works to regain his MVP form.