Welcome! Login | Register
 

The Strategies to Win the White House in 2020 – The Sunday Political Brunch March 24, 2019—The Strategies to Win the White House in…

2019 NFL Free Agency – Checking In On The Seattle Seahawks—2019 NFL Free Agency – Checking In On…

VIDEO: Mueller Report Delivered to United States Attorney General Barr UPDATED—VIDEO: Mueller Report Delivered to United States Attorney…

2019 NCAA Tournament – How To Set Your March Madness Bracket Around Pac-12 Teams—2019 NCAA Tournament – How To Set Your…

March Madness 2019 – Can The Oregon Ducks Get Back To The Elite Eight?—March Madness 2019 – Can The Oregon Ducks…

I Have 3 Months To Train For The Wild Rogue Relay—I Have 3 Months To Train For The…

20 Ways To Increase Circulation—20 Ways To Increase Circulation

Trail Blazers Weekly Preview – Sabonis 2.0, Dirk’s Rip City Swan Song, Blake Of House Piston Invades—Trail Blazers Weekly Preview – Sabonis 2.0, Dirk’s…

VIDEO: ‘Surf Rock’ Creator Dick Dale Dead at 81—VIDEO: 'Surf Rock' Creator Dick Dale Dead at…

The Presidential Primary Parade Marches On - Sunday Political Brunch March 17, 2019—The Presidential Primary Parade Marches On - Sunday…

 
 

Should Damian Lillard be an All-Star? A Look at the Numbers

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

 

Damian Lillard

When the NBA All-Star ballot returns were announced on January 21st, it was no surprise to Trail Blazers fans that point guard Damian Lillard was not among the five players selected by fan vote to start the All-Star game, with Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry and Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook proving to be fierce backcourt competition in addition to the 1.9 million votes garnered by Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant. All told, Lillard managed to earn only a shade over 150 thousand votes (158,360 votes to be exact), certainly a disappointing return tally for the 2-time All-Star. A week later, the talent-rich Western Conference coaches further hamstrung Lillard’s efforts for national recognition, glossing over the 4th year Weber State star for seven other players. A majority of the selections were well-deserved; there’s triple double machine Draymond Green (An NBA high 10 this season as of 2/4/16), James Harden throwing up a killer 28-6-7 Pts-Rebs-Asts line, Chris Paul averaging 19 points and 10 assists while playing his usual stellar defense from the point guard position. 
    
But was Lillard snubbed at all? Or was this simply a case of too many talented players and not enough spots, a musical chairs game of the worst kind? Lillard’s selection, or rather lack thereof, can be tied to three other players: Kobe Bryant, DeMarcus Cousins, and LaMarcus Aldridge. Now, it’s obvious that for Kobe Bryant’s swan song he was a shoe-in to be selected to the game, this despite the rather pedestrian numbers being put up by Bryant. Kobe is averaging a 16-4-4 line, shooting 35 percent from the field, 27.3 percent from behind the arc, all while jacking up 16 shots per game as part of his insanely high (based on quality of play) 30 percent usage rate. Lillard’s numbers all compare favorably to Bryant’s, with Dame putting up a 24-4-7 and an accompanying 42-37-86 shooting line on nearly 20 field goal attempts per game, a 31 percent usage rate further indicating Lillard’s offensive value to the Trail Blazers this season. Nevertheless, with Bryant announcing his impending retirement earlier this season, a spot was ensured to him in spite of his mediocre numbers.
    
To gain All-Star recognition, then, Lillard was forced to look elsewhere, with his only other options to outshine being big men DeMarcus Cousins and LaMarcus Aldridge. When looking at Cousins’ numbers, his worthiness is fairly apparent. Despite playing for a 21-29 Sacramento Kings team, Cousins’ has been the focal point of Kings team averaging a robust 107 points per game, putting up some dazzling numbers and gaudy game logs over the first half of the season. With a usage rate approaching 36 percent, Cousins is attempting 21 field goals per game while putting up a 27-11-3 line to go with 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks per game. Cousins has branched his game out further this season as well, attempting around 3 threes per game while making roughly a third of them without sacrificing his ability to draw fouls and get to the line (over 10 FT attempts per game). With three 40+ point games, including 56 against the Hornets on 1/25/2016, coupled with 4 games of 33+ points and 16+ rebounds, Cousins may very well end up on the All-NBA 1st team after the season. In spite of his team’s mediocre status, Cousins is a deserving All-Star this season.
    
And so, like old friends, they met again, coveting the same treasure, though this time as foes. The final All-Star reserve slot undoubtedly was an exercise in team success versus individual accolades, with San Antonio Spur LaMarcus Aldridge ultimately reigning supreme. The 45-4 Warriors had 3 players selected to the 2016 All-Star squad, and it certainly would have seemed bizarre had the 41-8 Spurs only gained one All-Star selection. But San Antonio’s motion-offense is predicated upon ball movement and finding the open man, and naturally player per game averages can sag a bit as a result. This is certainly the case with LaMarcus Aldridge, something that can clearly be demonstrated. L.A. is averaging just 30 minutes per game, lower than every season save his rookie year and down from the 35.4 minutes he averaged last year in Portland. His first 30 point game came on 2/3/16, nearly 50 games into the season, a staggering development considering Aldridge’s MVP-level play last season. In fact, in nearly every major category, with the exception of field goal percentage, Aldridge’s numbers are down from the 2014-15 season. 23-10-2 with a 47-35-84 shooting line has become 17-8-1 with a 50-0-82 shooting line. Aldridge finds himself taking only 14 shots per game this season, easily his lowest figure since his rookie year, and when you couple L.A.’s fewer shot attempts with the Spurs’ excellent spacing and ball movement leading to better looks, you get Aldridge shooting 51 percent on two point field goal attempts, his highest figure in that category since 2011-12. 
    
When you dive just a bit deeper and check the on floor/off floor numbers for both players, the true value of Lillard begins to shine. Both Aldridge and Lillard are small liabilities on the defensive side of the ball; opponents score nearly 4 points less per 100 possessions when Lillard and Aldridge are OFF the court, hinting at Lillard’s struggles with pick and roll defense and Aldridge’s inability to contest shots at the rim with any sort of consistency. Offensively, however, the numbers clearly favor Damian Lillard. The Trail Blazers score nearly 6 points more per 100 possessions with Lillard in the game, as you might expect with a player that has a 31 percent usage rate (why give the ball to someone on offense who can’t help your team put more points on the board?). In contrast, the struggles of Aldridge to integrate into the Spurs offense are readily apparent. While second on the team in points scored and in usage rate, Aldridge’s touches haven’t translated into better offense, as the Spurs average 3 more points per 100 possessions with Aldridge on the bench. L.A. still appears uncertain about when to pass, when to cut, and when to shoot within the offense. January was an improved month, however, as the Spurs averaged 117 points per 100 possessions with Aldridge in. Aldridge has improved his field goal shooting in every month this season, and his 36-point outbreak against Charlotte on 2/3/2016 could be a sign of things to come. Nevertheless, Lillard’s play has continued to improve throughout the season as well, as his three point percentage and offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) have continually risen even as his usage rate has steadily declined each month. 
    
In the end, however, the team success of the San Antonio Spurs catapulted Aldridge ahead of Lillard in the minds of the Western Conference coaches, and it’s difficult to find fault in their decision to acknowledge the incredible pre-All-Star Break the Spurs have thus far enjoyed. 41-8 is an incredible record through 49 games, clouded only by the torrid pace the Warriors have set, and a team playing that well is certainly deserving of 2 All-Stars, if not guaranteed such an outcome. All-Star rosters are constantly attempting to balance individual and team recognition, and in spite of the individual brilliance of Damian Lillard, it’s impossible to overlook the strong season put together thus far by San Antonio, and accordingly LaMarcus Aldridge got the nod over Lillard. While you can certainly make the very convincing case that Damian Lillard deserved to be an All-Star this season, San Antonio can similarly claim they deserve two All-Stars to honor their incredible season, leaving us with too many good players and not enough seats at the table. So for now, Damian Lillard has been ushered over to the kids table, hoping for a last-second injury replacement, praying his name might be called, but plotting for what happens if his name isn’t.

 

GoLocalPDX partner Oregon Sports News: Since 2011, Oregon Sports News has provided entertaining, hard-hitting local sports news & commentary every weekday. To read more from this author, check out Oregon Sports News by clicking here.

 

Related Slideshow: 15 Biggest Sports Stories of 2015

Prev Next

15.

Oregon State Football Goes Winless in Pac 12 Play

Not a memorable 2015 for Oregon State football who did not manage to win a game in Pac 12 play this season.

Oregon State was in it's first year under new coach Gary Anderson and will look for a better 2016.

Prev Next

14.

Seattle Seahawks Fall in Super Bowl

The New England Patriots battled through a nailbiter of a match to win Super Bowl XLIX, which ended in a physical altercation between several players. 

Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to the 28-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale, Az. The Seahawks defense intercepted two of quarterback Brady's fully inflated passes, but it would be a New England interception in the final minute of the game that would seal the victory for the Patriots. 

Read More

Prev Next

13.

Great Places to Watch Games

Big games are coming up meaning it is time to gather up your friends and head out to a local bar and take in the action while also taking down a few drinks, maybe some nachos or wings.

For some great places to watch games, click here.

Prev Next

12.

The 10 Dumbest Coaching Decisions in NFL History

It's always entertaining when NFL head coaches call what they think is a really good play or a really smart decision and then that decision goes completely wrong. Unless it's your team, then it's terrible.

GoLocalPDX took at look at the 10 dumbest coaching decisions in NFL history.

Read More

Prev Next

11.

Timbers Advance to MLS Cup Final

The Timbers got to the MLS Cup final for the first time in the franchise's history with a 2-2 draw against FC Dallas, taking the Western Conference title by an aggregate score of 5-3. 

Read More

Prev Next

10

Alex Morgan is Gone and Portland Thorns Fans are to Blame

The face of U.S. women’s soccer, the cover girl of EA Sports FIFA 16, and one of the most recognizable athletes in all of sports, Alex Morgan, is no longer with the Portland Thorns, and it’s all your fault. Because of your relentless support and record-setting attendance, Portland was able to give in to the request of its most recognizable player, sacrificing star power in favor of gathering more talent and potential to make the Thorns a better team. Much better.

Read More

Prev Next

9.

Bring the Arizona Coyotes to Portland

Let’s face it. You are a billionaire and while you don’t like to lose money, you own the Trail Blazers and the Seahawks for the fun of it and the thrill of competition.

You’ve obviously succeeded with the Seahawks (though I still don’t care).

And while your 25-year track record with the Trail Blazers is much more middling, the fact that the Trail Blazers remain in Portland owes much to you. In other words, your sports legacy in Seattle is secure in Seattle and probably intact in Portland, save another “Jail Blazers” stretch.

But if you want to cement your legacy in Portland – and have a blast doing it – bring the Coyotes here.

Read More

Prev Next

8.

Oregon’s Football Uniforms No Longer a Joke

It didn’t happen overnight, and it didn’t happen solely because, but Oregon’s uniform revolution kick-started a metamorphosis of previously ugly ducklings into a sports nation of flourishing fowl.  The Ducks of today are not the Ducks of 20 years ago, and the punchline they were due to the innovative route they chose to take has become the road more travelled for everyone else trying to catch up.  They’re winning at an unprecedented rate, generating revenue at an unprecedented level, and attracting attention from prospects from unprecedented regions of the country.  It isn’t and accident and it isn’t a joke anymore.  

It appears the Ducks are the ones laughing now. 

Read Full Article here.

Prev Next

7.

Oregon's 15 Hottest Athletes

GoLocalPDX identified the 15 hottest athletes in Oregon sports. The athletes span a wide range of sports from basketball, football, softball, soccer, gymnastics and more.

Who is the hottest athlete? check out the list.

See the List Here.

Prev Next

6.

Marcus Mariota Selected #2 Overall to Tennessee

With the number two pick in the 2015 NFL Draft the Tennessee Titans selected Marcus Mariota.

While at Oregon he was the perfect role model. He was never seen doing anything he wasn’t supposed to do. He even made weekly visits to the Boys and Girls Club located in Eugene, Oregon. The only hiccup on his record was when he got a speeding ticket during the season. Yet, he paid it off immediately and accepted that he was in the wrong. This is something that Duck fans desperately needed to see after witnessing Jeremiah Masoli, Cliff Harris and Colt Lyerla not live up to their full potential because of poor decisions made off the field. To many Duck fans this is what made Mariota so special. 

Read More

Prev Next

5.

Jerome Kersey Passes Away at 52

Trail Blazers great Jerome Kersey died in Portland, Wednesday. He was 52.

A medical examiner's report released found that Kersey suffered a pulmonary thromboembolism when a blood clot from his calf dislodged from his calf and plugged in his lung.

Read More

Prev Next

4.

Brandon Roy’s Life After Basketball

Due to a number of knee ailments that dated back to his college days Roy was forced to retire from the NBA at the age of 28. It was later discovered that Roy suffered from degenerative knees, an ongoing issue that would provide additional problems in the future if he were to continue with his NBA career. Roy made the tough decision to call it a career after the 2012-2013 season.

Since his retirement from the NBA Roy has found another way to stay involved with the game that has brought him plenty of success.  

Read More

Prev Next

3.

Oregon Ducks Football Falls in National Championship Game

The first ever College Football Playoff National Championship Trophy will not be coming back to Oregon.

Kurt Helfrich’s Oregon Ducks could not hold off the gritty offense of Cardale Jones and the Ohio State Buckeyes, dropping 42-20. 

Read More

Prev Next

2.

Will Marijuana Use Cost the Ducks the National Championship?

Multiple reports surfaced late Friday that freshman Darren Carrington would be ineligible for Monday’s national championship against Ohio State for failing a random drug test, supposedly registering a positive for marijuana. 

Read More

Prev Next

1.

Portland Timbers Win MLS Cup Championship

The Portland Timbers defeated the Columbus Crew 2-1  to win the MLS Cup Championship. The first championship in franchise history.

Read More

 
 

Related Articles

 

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

 

X

Stay Connected — Free
Daily Email