Sports & Outdoors

Blazer’s Damian Lilliard stays underrated

Continuing on the theme of sports teams here in the northwest, there has been a swarm of media attention around the National Basketball Association’s All-Star team selections.

Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers, former Rookie of the Year and two-time All-Star selection, is the focus of many arguments on the subject of who should be selected for the honor of being selected for one of the two All-Star teams.

The NBA All-Star teams are selected by a group of coaches and community members who vote on the 12 players they want to see compete from the Eastern and Western Conferences.

On Feb. 8, Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers reported himself injured as he underwent surgery to remove a staph infection from his elbow.

Lillard was snubbed from the original 12-player roster until Griffin reported himself injured.

Much of the controversy around Lillard’s selection came from the original decision that saw him left off of the Western Conference roster.

Lillard played all 53 games in the NBA season at the time of selection and was passed over for players like Kevin Durant who had missed more games than he played when the roster was announced.

On top of Durant’s poor showing in attendance this year, the Thunder are a full eight games behind Lillard’s team, the Blazers.

The Thunder went into the All-Star break with a mediocre 28-25 record while the Blazers hold the third best record in the Western Conference of 36-17.

“I feel like if I didn’t think I earned the right to be here, then maybe I’d think otherwise. But I feel like I earned it. I earned a spot on the team, and I’m here because of that,” Lillard said during the All-Star weekend press conference.

A rock for the Blazers at point guard, Damian has impressive numbers to back up his selection to the 2015 All-Star roster.

He leads the league in number of points scored in overtime situations so far this season with 31 points.

His shooting average actually increases as games go on according to writer John Schuhmann.

The numbers run like this: 4.3 points in the first quarter, to 5.1 in the second, 5.5 in the third and 6.6 in the fourth. Damian is a driving force behind the success of the Blazers this year and will continue his all-star caliber season on Friday Jan. 20 against the Utah Jazz at 6 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.