One of the main complaints about the All-Star starters this year was that the league and fans didn’t vote Damien Lillard in. The NBA announced the starters and Stephen Curry and Luka Doncic were at the guard spots. Curry, undoubtedly has had a phenomenal season. Doncic has also played well, but not to the level with Curry.
In a press conference, Doncic admitted that he was “surprised” that he was a starter. He also admitted that “Lillard may deserve [the starting spot] more than me.” Even in what he considers a down year for himself, he still has a case as a starter. However, its arguable that Lillard may deserve it more.
The main knock on Luka is that the Mavericks aren’t playing well to start this year. They are 13-15 and not a playoff lock. Because of their poor shooting, injuries, and Covid, they got off to a slow start.
On the other hand, Lillard has carried an injury-depleted Portland Trailblazer team to an 18-10 start. CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic got hurt early in the season and will miss an extended period. In their absence, the Trailblazers still find themselves tied for fourth in the west. at 18-10.
Issues with Fan Voting
While it may be very true Lillard is more deserving than Doncic, people need to keep in mind fans determine 50% of the voting for the starters. Doncic likely has a massive fanbase in his home country, Slovenia, and other international fans. That support is probably going to make him a perennial starter in years to come.
Lillard has a large fanbase, but he doesn’t have an entire country following him. Fan All-Star voting is a popularity contest. People aren’t looking into the small details to decide who they want to put ahead.
Doncic has a great point in his press conference. He says that people in a few years will only remember “if you were an All-star or not an All-star” and not as much whether or not the player started.