Damian Lillard was named an all-star for the third time in his career this week. He’s only been voted in twice and has been snubbed a ton in his short career despite putting up gaudy numbers.
Every year, Lillard would be asked about missing the all-star game and he’d, rightfully, campaign for himself and say why he deserved to be in. Well, Russell Westbrook apparently took notice of that. When complaining about Paul George’s snub this season, Westbrook threw his own snub at Lillard.
“Unbelievable. I think it’s just outrageous, in my opinion,” Westbrook said. “I don’t know who else made the team but got four people from one team, you’ve got guys complaining about getting snubbed until they get in, you’ve got guys just talking about it all the time. But the guys that deserve it — should be in — are not. I just don’t understand. Doesn’t make any sense.”
Ahead of Wednesday night’s matchup against the Timberwolves, Lillard was asked about Westbrook’s complaint after pretty clearly being targeted, and he said he was ‘disappointed’ by what Westbrook had to say.
“I respect Russ a lot so it was kind of disappointing to see him say that,” Lillard said. “Because he’s played against me, he’s played against our team, he knows what I’ve accomplished. Not just this year, but over my career. So it was a little bit disappointing, but I know that I earned my spot this year. And that’s pretty much what it is. I earned my spot.”
Lillard is right — he earned his keep this season
The Trail Blazers are fighting to remain in the playoff picture, but that doesn’t mean Lillard has been disappointing this season. Lillard is one of four players to average at least 25 points, six assists, and four rebounds this season — Westbrook, LeBron James, and Stephen Curry are the others.
He pretty clearly deserves to be in the all-star game. If Westbrook can’t appreciate it, that isn’t Lillard’s fault.
At least Westbrook was honest, though. It’s one thing to say one player should make the game, but it’s another to do that without saying another player shouldn’t be there. But targeting Lillard was a mistake — as he said, he’s earned it this year.