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Golliver: Lillard Ranks All-NBA Third Team’s Ben Golliver puts Portland’s start guard in All-NBA contention, but not at the highest level.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Portland Trail Blazers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard is raising eyebrows and expectations this season, leading his team to a 42-26 record courtesy of a 26.8 ppg scoring average. That’s enough to get him serious notice for the 2018 All-NBA Team, including from Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated, who took a comprehensive look at the race for All-NBA positioning this week.

After discussing the serious role injuries will play in this year’s balloting, first-time candidates, and past snubs, Golliver gets down to the crunch surrounding Lillard.

This year, there are at least seven credible All-NBA candidates from the NBA’s top five teams alone: Harden, Paul, Curry, Thompson, DeRozan, Irving and Lillard. Throw in Westbrook, an All-NBA selection in six of the last seven years, and that’s eight strong candidates. Victor Oladipo and Lowry have both played well enough for winning teams to get on the radar, too.

It’s extremely difficult to forecast exactly how voters will narrow down that group to six selections.

At the end of the article, Golliver shares his current thinking.

2018 All-NBA First Team

Guards: James Harden and Stephen Curry (likely to drop down)

•​ Forwards: LeBron James and Kevin Durant

•​ Center: Anthony Davis

2018 All-NBA Second Team

•​ Guards: DeMar DeRozan and Russell Westbrook

•​ Forwards: Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jimmy Butler (likely to drop off entirely)

•​ Center: Joel Embiid

2018 All-NBA Third Team

•​ Guards: Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving

•​ Forwards: Paul George and Al Horford

•​ Center: Karl-Anthony Towns

What do you think? Is Lillard too low? Too high? Does he have any chance of cracking the first or second teams? Share below.