Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has not been named the Kia NBA Player of the Month despite averaging 38.5 points per game over 10 appearances in February and posting a Top-Dozen-In-All-Of-History 71-point performance against the Houston Rockets on the 26th of the month. Lillard also averaged 7.0 assists and 5.7 rebounds in 37.4 minutes per game during that span, shooting 50% from the field and 41% from the three-point arc. Oh, and 96.3% from the foul line. On 10.9 attempts per game.
Lillard was edged out of the honor by Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, who admittedly averaged a triple-double with 22.6 points, 14.2 rebounds, and 10.2 assists for the month, shooting 64.2% from the field and 50.0% from the arc, but Jokic is already the two-time and reigning NBA MVP. Also Wilt Chamberlain, Russell Westbrook, and Jason Kidd all scoff at the puny triple-double clip in the shortest month of the year. Some of these people did it for a whole season, or in the playoffs, yo. But 38.5 points? Wilt approves of that more. Come on.
While Jokic won the Western Conference Player of the Month Award, Jalen Brunson of the New York Knicks won the Eastern Conference version, leading talking head Stephen A. Smith with one more reason to suggest that the Blazers trading Lillard to his favorite team would benefit everyone, as Dame surely could have beaten out Brunson if he played in that conference. This led analyst Shaquille O’Neal to suggest that the NBA simply create a “halo” conference around each individual star player so all of them had a chance to win their own conference each month, to which media mogul Charles Barkley responded, “Yeah, you’re the only one with a head big enough to merit its own conference.” At that point Shaq said, “Come on now. That’s not true. That’s not true.”
Not all of the above may have actually happened, but neither should Dame getting passed up in his 71-point month, y’all.
Per NBA Communications, Lillard did stand among five players as honorable mentions for the month, so at least there’s that.
Other nominees...West: Anthony Davis (LAL), De’Aaron Fox (SAC), Damian Lillard (POR), Lauri Markkanen (UTA) and Klay Thompson (GSW) East: Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL), Joel Embiid (PHI), Donovan Mitchell (CLE), Julius Randle (NYK), Pascal Siakam (TOR) and Trae Young (ATL)
I guess Lillard will just have to average 45 with a 90-point performance in March. Unless, of course, Jokic sneezes sideways, in which case...pfffffttt.