LA Clippers point guard Chris Paul is a future Hall of Famer, but 17.5 points per game and 9.7 assists -- both below his career averages of 18.7 ppg and 9.9 apg -- doesn't make him an All-star this season. Especially in the West, where Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and yes, even Gordon Hayward, are having superior years.
Age is indeed closing in on CP3. It’s not only slowly deteriorating his performance, but it’s lessening his popularity. The 31-year-old, 12-year veteran used to be a shoo-in for an All-star game selection by the fans, coaches...somebody. He was a must-see at these events and his swag was always strong. His name usually rolled off the tongue of basketball fans and purists alike when mentioning the game's "best leaders."
Not anymore, and if that’s not a resounding indictment against your standing as a premier NBA attraction, then I don’t know what is.
Paul shouldn’t be too concerned with individual accolades at this point anyway. He’s a future Hall of Famer, the last general of the old school, pill-push-first point guards and he has a team that many feel is capable of winning a championship. He just needs to go make that happen by getting his rest that weekend and come out in the second half to take the Clippers from a four seed to a legit contending two or three seed in the West.
The Shadow League’s Senior VP and GM, Yussuf Khan is adamant about the fact that Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard got snubbed for the third-straight year. While I don't share his enthusiasm for that claim, I can understand why a fan of Lillard’s would be fuming. It seems as if ignoring him has become fashionable as his Trail Blazers squad falls to ninth in the Western Conference standings.
In the NBA’s defense, Lillard was an All-star in 2014 and 2015, but that’s when Westbrook was sharing shots with KD and Harden wasn’t given the green light to go gorilla in Mike D’Antoni’s high-flying brand of Euro ball.
Times have changed. And while Paul has enjoyed his billing as top dawg already, Lillard is always a face in the crowd and playing in the boondocks of Portland has done nothing for his notoriety.
In fact, Lillard who is averaging 26.2 points, 5.8 assists, and 4.8 rebounds per game is the first hoopster since 1986 to average 25-plus points per game for two straight seasons not make the All-Star showcase. Golden State’s Purvis Short was the last player to get done dirty like this.
Like our own Khan, Lillard hates it and has been vocal about his exclusion.
Lillard, a self-proclaimed rapper who goes by the name DAME D.O.L.L.A with some legit street cred behind his skills on the microphone, dropped a track titled “They Sleep,” where he vented his frustrations on being left out of the All-Star Game.
In 2015, Lillard posted and deleted an Instagram post where he thanked league officials for not thinking he was good enough to be an All-Star. He then went buck wild in a rant.
“I'm definitely going to take it personally. I said I'd be pissed off about it and I am. I just felt disrespected because I play the game the right way, I play unselfishly, I play for my team to win games and I produce at a high level. I think what I bring to the game as a person, my make up mentally, how I am towards my teammates, how I am towards the media, how I am towards the fans, what an All Star represents in this league, what you would want people looking at in an All Star, I think I make up all those things.
For me to be having the type of season i'm having, better than any I've had before, and for my team to be third in the Western Conference, I just see it as disrespectful. I'm not one of those guys who's going to say, 'I should be over this guy or that guy.' I'm not a hater. I have respect for each guy who made the roster, and they deserve to, but at the same time, I feel really disrespected, man. That's honestly how I feel.”
He eventually was blessed with a sympathy add after Kobe got injured. No such luck this season.
All I can say to the two-time All-NBA stud is to "keep grinding big man." When your team starts winning more, the world will recognize your talents. And nobody is knocking you, there are just some immortal ballers on loaded squadrons in your way and everybody loves a winner.
Don't beef. Kick that wall down.