Damian Lillard deserves to make All-NBA First Team in 2018, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN. Saying he was “aggressive...getting the 15 best players” for the 1st-3rd All-League teams, the prominent analyst tabbed Lillard tops along with James Harden, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and first-round playoff opponent Anthony Davis.
Lowe claims that Lillard’s greatest competition for First-Team nod is Oklahoma City guard, and reigning MVP, Russell Westbrook.
The only debate from there came between Lillard and Westbrook for the final first-team guard spot. Statistically, they are very close. Lillard has a tiny lead in scoring, Westbrook bigger edges in assists and rebounds. Both have been indispensable; their teams fall apart when they hit the bench. The advanced numbers flip both ways; their player efficiency ratings are dead even.
Portland edged Oklahoma City in the final standings, and Lillard’s far, far, far superior outside shooting and willingness to give up the ball (and get it back sometimes!) makes him a more amenable teammate. If you prefer Westbrook, I wouldn’t really argue. Lillard wins here.
Lowe’s second team includes forwards Kevin Durant and former Trail Blazer LaMarcus Aldridge; his third team features Stephen Curry and rookie Ben Simmons.
Today is the deadline for official ballots for NBA season awards.