Zach Lowe of Grantland.com selects Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge and guard Damian Lillard for his 2014 Western Conference All-Star team.
Lillard is still a minus defender, but he isn't as egregiously bad as he was last season, and he has developed into a foundational offensive player. He's a so-so distributor, in part because Nicolas Batum is so good as a secondary passer, and he has struggled to finish at the basket, but, holy hell, this guy's combination of ballhandling and 3-point shooting has Curry-level lethality.
Lillard is on pace for one of the greatest 3-point shooting seasons ever, perhaps the second-best, behind only the prolonged hot streak that doubled as Curry's 2012-13 season. Lillard is on pace for 600 3-point attempts, and he's shooting 44 percent. Only seven players have ever hit even 40 percent from deep while jacking at least 550 attempts, and each accomplished that double just once in his career.
Lillard's defense counts against him, as does the fact that Portland's offense has scored at below-average rates when Lillard plays without Aldridge. But Portland's poor backup bigs have a lot to do with that, and Lillard has been the league's best clutch player so far this season.
Earlier this month, injured Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant endorsed Lillard for the All-Star team.
Blazers forward Nicolas Batum recently asserted that he should also be considered for an All-Star spot.
The starting lineups for the 2014 All-Star Game will be announced on Thursday.
PS Belated thanks to Harmala who got there first in the FanShots.
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-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org |Twitter