Not even Luka Doncic thinks he should start over Damian Lillard in the All-Star Game

Ryan Young
·2 min read

Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic was named a starter for the All-Star Game next month, something that left many fans both surprised and even angry that he got the nod over Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.

Doncic, shockingly, is also one of those people.

“I didn’t expect that I was going to start this game,” Doncic said Saturday, via ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “I know that maybe [Damian] Lillard deserved it more than me.”

Trail Blazers not happy about Lillard snub

Lillard, of course, is in the midst of a tremendous season.

The Trail Blazers star is averaging 29.8 points and 7.7 assists — both almost career-highs — so far this season, and has kept Portland in contention despite significant injuries to both C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic.

The now six-time All-Star, though, didn’t make the cut for a starting spot — which left Portland fans very upset.

Lillard, however, seemed to take the news well.

“When I was younger I cared a lot more,” Lillard said Friday, via NBC Sports. “Obviously, that’s an accomplishment to be an All-Star starter. It’s something that I haven’t done, so of course, I would like to have been named the starter, but I honestly wasn’t surprised.

“I wasn’t upset about it. I don’t even have cable at my house right now. So I was sitting there feeding my kids and people started calling me.”

While Doncic sounds apologetic for getting the start, he has no reason to be. Undoubtedly, the Mavericks guard has earned his spot.

The 21-year-old is averaging a career-high 29.1 points, 9.4 assists and 8.6 rebounds so far this season in Dallas. Those figures easily live up to the MVP hype he received coming into the year, yet the Mavericks are just 13-15 on the year — something that many thought should give the edge to Lillard.

Dallas has started to turn things around, though, and has won five of its last seven.

In the end, it really doesn’t matter. Both Doncic and Lillard are headed to Atlanta for the All-Star Game. And based on Lillard’s comments, he isn’t giving the starting lineup any of his attention.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard watches as Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic makes a basket
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic got the nod to start over Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard in the All-Star Game. (AP/Michael Ainsworth)

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