You’ve only got a few more days to vote for LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum to be starters on the 2014 Western Conference All-Star team before polls close on Jan. 20. Both Aldridge and Lillard are in the Top 10 in voting at their respective positions, but neither would make the Western Conference starting lineup if the vote where to end today.
But according to Sam Amick of USA Today, Aldridge should be a starter by virtue of being the best power forward in the Western Conference this season …
Speaking of MVP candidates, the Portland big man who was already considered one of the best in the game has never been better. He’s sixth in the NBA in scoring (a career-high 23.6 points per game) and rebounding (a career-high 11 per) and is averaging a career-high 2.9 assists per game to boot for this Blazers team (28-9) that is the surprise of the season.
Amick lists Aldridge alongside Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard as his Western Conference All-Star starters.
Amick also lists Lillard as one of his “wild-card” reserve picks …
From an out-of-nowhere Rookie of the Year honor last season to the first All-Star appearance that should be coming his way, the player who was drafted sixth overall out of little-known Weber State has exploded on the NBA scene. Beyond the 21.4 points, 5.7 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game, he has fast become one of the most clutch players in the game. Lillard trails only Curry, Harden and Durant in fourth-quarter scoring (6.7 points per in the fourth) and has become a regular at game-winning shots (three this season). His inclusion here will likely depend on Kobe Bryant, who is second among all vote-getters but could – and should – decline the honor so that a deserving talent can take part.
Kobe already told fans they should vote for guys like Lillard rather than for himself, so it stands to reason that Bryant, who has only played in six games this season and is currently sidelined with a knee injury, would pass on the All-Star invite, opening up a spot for Lillard.
Starters for both the West and East starters will be announced on Jan. 23 with reserves, who are voted in by NBA head coaches, will be announced a week later.