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Damian Lillard Doesn't Deserve To Be An All Star Starter

On January 25th, the all-star starting results came out, and although many of the players were deemed the right choice, the one pick that left fans somewhat confused was that of Damian Lillard. Lillard has been playing a great season so far, however many fans believe that there are other players in the East that deserved that spot over him.

The day after the results came out, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Cleveland Cavaliers faced off in a matchup that was important as both of those teams are contenders in the Eastern Conference. The game ended with Cleveland getting a 112-100 win over Milwaukee, as Donovan Mitchell led the charge with 32 points. However, this game was less about the win for Cleveland and more about the idea that Damian Lillard proved that he doesn’t deserve to start in the 2024 NBA All-Star Game. 

Against Cleveland, Lillard put up a stat line of 22 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists which is decent on paper, but the efficiency numbers say otherwise. Lillard shot a horrendous 7 for 24 throughout the game, and only made 2 of his 10 three-pointers attempted. This was not a good look for Lillard, especially after his controversial All-Star starter selection. 

Now the question is, who should have gotten that starting spot over Lillard?

A few names come up when talking about who deserved that second guard spot in the game, with Donovan Mitchell being one of them. In this Cavs vs Bucks game, Mitchell proved that there are levels, and that he is simply a level above Lillard at this point. This season, he’s been averaging better numbers than Lillard, and has been playing more efficiently. Mitchell has dealt with an injury this season, which sidelined him for about 10 games, but that shouldn’t be an excuse as to why he wasn’t named a starter as Joel Embiid has played as many games as Mitchell has this season, and Embiid has been selected as a starter. 

Another name that comes to mind is Trae Young, who is probably the most deserving player in terms of who should have gotten that starting spot. The biggest concern with Young is that his team, the Atlanta Hawks, have not been performing the best this season. However, the Hawks are still in play-in contention, and they have a better record with Trae Young this season than without him, so it’s clear that whenever he is playing he is making the team better. Young has been averaging a 27-point double-double this season, arguably the best among guards in the East in terms of stats, maybe just behind Tyrese Haliburton, who was selected as a starter. 

Other names come up, such as Jalen Brunson and Tyrese Maxey, who both also have a good argument as to why they should start over Lillard. Brunson and Lillard have put up somewhat identical stats this season, however, Brunson has been putting them up much more efficiently, and he is a significantly better defender. Maxey is also on the same playing field as Lillard in terms of numbers, but he, like Brunson, has also been playing more efficiently and is better on defense. 

Ultimately, Lillard should not have been selected as a starter for the NBA All-Star Game. There are players at his position and in his conference who have been playing better than him, with them all deserving that selection more than Lillard.

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Jan 31


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