It was announced earlier today that Los Angeles Clippers star power forward Blake Griffin is suffering from a staph infection that will require surgery, and will sideline him for 4 to 6 weeks, forcing him to miss the NBA all-star game. With Griffin missing the game, the NBA didn’t waste much time finding his replacement, as they named Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard to the team almost immediately following the news of Griffin’s injury.
Every single year, there are at least one or two players who are left off the all-star team that should be on there. This year, the two most deserving players who were left off the team were Damian Lillard and DeMarcus Cousins. Fortunately for Cousins, Kobe Bryant — who was voted into the game by the fans — is suffering from an injury, and Cousins was named as Bryant’s replacement. But Lillard — who many people felt deserved the replacement spot over Cousins — was still not on the team.
Charles Barkley said on an edition of Inside The NBA that he has a big problem with Damian Lillard being left off the all-star team, and he has an even bigger problem with Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant being put on the team, due to the fact that Durant has missed over half the season due to injury. Lillard agreed with Barkley, and was very vocal about being left off the western conference all-star team.
“I’m definitely going to take it personal. I said I’d be p***ed 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 makeup mentally, how I am toward my teammates, how I am toward the media, how I am toward fans; I think what an all-star represents in this league, and what you would want people to look at as an all-star, I think I make up all those things.”
There’s no question that Damian Lillard is deserving on an all-star nod, as he’s lead the Blazers to the best record in the Northwest Division, and is putting up all-star caliber numbers — averaging 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 1.5 steals per game.
[Image via Sam Forencich/Getty Images]