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Blazers’ Lillard is Positioned to be an All-Star Game Starter

The Athletic’s Josh Robbins and John Hollinger placed Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard in the starting lineup for Western Conference in their latest All-Star Game ballot.

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69th NBA All-Star Game Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA’s All-Star Game, if it is agreed upon between the players and the league, is set to unfold in just over a month. Leading into the event, Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard appears to be on the verge of cracking the starting lineup for the event. On Tuesday, The Athletic’s Josh Robbins and John Hollinger delivered a detailed look at their early All-Star Game ballots.

For the Western Conference selections, Lillard was listed as a backcourt starter alongside Mavericks star Luka Doncic. The report from The Athletic explained that Lillard’s recent heroics against the Bulls pushed him over the top.

Lillard has carried Portland since CJ McCollum suffered a foot injury, scoring at least 35 points in four of Portland’s last six games. Truth is, despite his elite scoring, we went back-and-forth picking between Lillard and Stephen Curry as a backcourt starter for the West. Lillard’s late-game heroics Saturday night to lift the Blazers over the Bulls 123-122 — sinking a long 3 with 8.9 seconds to go followed by a stepback 3 as time expired — sealed his selection here.

Lillard was not the only Trail Blazers player mentioned in the article. CJ McCollum earned a nod under the honorable mentions section.

Like Morant above, McCollum played at an All-Star level, but injuries took him out of action after just 13 games. McCollum’s production was by far the best of his career in that stretch — 26.7 points per game, 44.1 percent from 3 and 5.0 assists to boot — and would have put him in the top dozen despite Portland’s defensive woes. However, he broke his foot and won’t be back any time soon, leaving his résumé stuck on 13 games.

Lillard, through 19 outings this season, is averaging 28.9 points and 7.2 assists per game. If you haven’t voted yet, you can access the ballot by clicking here.

You can read the full ballot breakdown at The Athletic (subscription required).