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Is Damian Lillard the 5th Best Player in the NBA?

Kenny Smith of TNT says Portland’s star deserves not only the All-Star nod, but even more.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, we found out that Damian Lillard was snubbed by NBA All-Star voters, losing the popular vote for the starting lineup by half a million to Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic despite being voted in overwhelmingly by coaches and fellow players. Last night, in the aftermath of the letdown, TNT commentators Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith both agreed that Lillard should have won the nod. In the process, Smith called Lillard one of the top five players in the NBA. Here’s the video.

So then, let’s discuss this. First, yay Kenny! Second, does Lillard fit into the NBA Top 5?

Personally, I think four players sit atop that list in varying orders:

  • LeBron James
  • Kevin Durant
  • Kawhi Leonard
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo

That leaves room for a fifth somewhere. Is Lillard truly the best of the rest right now? That would include fellow guards like Steph Curry and Bradley Beal, plus centers Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid.

Would you go that far, Portland Trail Blazers fans? If any group was willing to, it’d be you. Share your appreciation for the TNT comments below, but then vote on whether YOU think Damian Lillard displaces one of the top four listed above or sneaks into the fifth spot.