Portland Trail Blazers’ All-Star Damian Lillard has elevated his game in year No. 11 of his career. For the second time since entering the NBA, Lillard is on pace to average 30 points or better, and is situated at No. 3 in the scoring title race, behind Luka Doncic (33.2 PPG) and Joel Embiid (33.0 PPG).
After a 71-point performance rocked the NBA last Sunday, we polled Blazers faithful and NBA fans alike on whether or not Lillard will be recognized for his play at the end of the regular season with an All-NBA nod.
Doubt was nearly nonexistent, as 96 percent of voters believe Lillard will represent Rip City on the first, second or third teams.
Lillard has accomplished much in 2022-23 to deserve honor. On Dec. 19, 2022, Lillard surpassed Blazers Hall-of-Famer Clyde Drexler to become Portland’s all-time leading scorer with his 18,041st career point.
He doubled down on his scoring rampage with a 71-point masterpiece against the Houston Rockets in a 131-114 win on Feb. 26. Lillard has had 27 games with 30 or more points this season, in which Portland has gone 15-12.
Despite the Blazers being outside of play-in contention with a 29-33 record — good for No. 12 in the Western Conference — All-NBA tends to weigh individual performances over win-loss record.
91 percent of voters were sure that Dame would make one of the first two teams. Only five percent forecast Lillard to be named to the third team, whether convincingly or by the skin of his teeth.
Lillard’s main competition for first team will be Doncic (Dallas Mavericks) — assuming he is listed at point guard for 2023 — and Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies). In the event that Lillard does not receive the highest honor among point guards, he will have the likes of De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City Thunder) and Tyrese Haliburton (Indiana Pacers) to outshine before all 82 games are said and done.