Luka Doncic speaks out on starting over Damian Lillard in NBA All-Star Game

Portland Trail Blazers, Damian Lillard, Philadelphia 76ers, Joel Embiid, NBA Rumors
USA TODAY Sports

The NBA recently released the official list of starters for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game and Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic was among the group for the Western Conference. One name that was left off was Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard.

When asked about tying Damian Lillard in NBA All-Star starter voting, Luka Doncic expressed that he didn’t expect to be named a starter. He felt as though ‘maybe’ Lillard was more deserving of the honor.

“I didn’t expect I was going to start this game. I thought maybe Lillard deserved it more than me,” Doncic said, via Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News.

The level of play that Damian Lillard has provided the Portland Trail Blazers has been nothing short of impressive. He’s averaging 30.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 7.9 assists with strong efficiency. His team is surging as of late — winning eight of their last 10 games. Now, they sit fifth in the Western Conference standings.

RELATED: NBA Analysis: Why Damian Lillard needs to be in the forefront of MVP talks

The Dallas Mavericks have struggled to win games this season and Luka Doncic is averaging 29.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 9.4 assists. There’s certainly a case to be made that Lillard is more deserving given how the Mavs hold just a 13-15 record and rank 10th in the conference standings.

Starting in the NBA All-Star Game is nice to receive for the recognition but means far less than being named to one of the top All-NBA Teams. It’s difficult to envision Damian Lillard not being recognized in such a way at the end of the season if he can sustain his individual and team success.

It will be fascinating to see how the Western Conference standings play out given how easy it is for a team to both rise and fall. How Luka Doncic and Damian Lillard manage to lead their respective teams will certainly be something to watch as the season progresses.

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