We are still over two months out from the 2018 NBA All-Star Game, but early media picks for the squads all starting to come in.
Matt Moore of CBSsports.com made his selections through the first twenty-five games of the season, rewarding Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard with a backup spot on the Western Conference team.
Lillard is in a great position to finally get that spot he's wanted for so long, but the Blazers have to hold. He's only shooting 33 percent from deep. He's been Portland's best player; it falls apart with out him. If the Blazers' defense slides, it's going to get dicey for him again, though. Right now, he should be a near-lock, and not just for his offense. Lillard has given more on defense this season than ever before, and he deserves a share of credit for Portland being second in defensive rating.
Lillard made two All-Star teams in the 2013-14 and the 2014-15 seasons, but has missed the last two rosters. Overall this season, he is averaging 25.7 points, 6.3 assists, and a career-high 5.2 rebounds a game. However, his shooting numbers are down, with his 33.2 percent from deep ranking his lowest by far, while his overall field goal percentage is the second-worst of his career at 42.2 percent.
Moore places Lillard on the reserves alongside Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors, Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and a familiar face in LaMarcus Aldridge of the San Antonio Spurs.
CJ McCollum was not included. He is scoring 20.7 points per game—outpacing Butler, Thompson, and Towns—and the best defensive rating of his career thus far at -0.5.