ESPN Predicts Lillard Will Make All-NBA Team
Everyone knows that Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard was not named to the 2016 Western Conference All-Star team. And most agree, considering his play since being passed over by both the fans and coaches, that Lillard's snub was by far the most egregious. But Lillard has put it behind him and, with the Trail Blazers fighting with four teams for five available playoff spots, he's got much more important matters to attend to.
But there's still the matter of All-NBA teams, which are announced after the end of the regular season. While fans don't tend to pay as much attention to the All-NBA teams as they do the All-Star teams -- which makes sense considering the months of hype that go into promoting All-Star and its associated events -- All-NBA teams are much selective, with just 15 spots up for grabs compared to 24 for All-Star teams. And players have to be voted in one of three positions -- guard, forward and center -- for All-NBA while All-Star positions are broken out only by frontcourt and backcourt players, which makes it more difficult to slip in a deserving player who happens to play at a deep position.
So while it doesn't get marketed as well, making an All-NBA team is much more of an accomplishment than making an All-Star team. So Lillard might feel a bit of vindication in ESPN's Kevin Pelton is projecting that the 6-3 point guard out of Weber State will make an All-NBA team this season...
The last All-NBA spot will probably go to Damian Lillard, who is also eligible for a Rose rule boost to his salary next season and beyond if he makes an All-NBA team. As part of his extension with the Portland Trail Blazers, Lillard agreed to cap his possible salary at 27.5 percent of the cap, according to BasketballInsiders.com, which means a difference of approximately $12 million in future salary if he's chosen All-NBA.
First team: Stephen Curry | Russell Westbrook
Second team: Chris Paul | Kyle Lowry
Third team: James Harden | Damian Lillard
The "Rose rule" mentioned here, which is informally named after Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, is a stipulation in the collective bargaining agreement that allows players signing their first contract after their rookie scale contract to receive salary increases beyond what they would normally be eligible for provided they meet one of three criteria before their new deal kicks in: being named MVP once, an All-Star starter twice or to an All-NBA team twice. Since Lillard made Third Team All-NBA after his sophomore season, being named to the Third Team again after this season would trigger the incentive. That sure beats a few days shivering in Toronto at All-Star Weekend.
(By the way, the Rose Rule max can be for up to 30 percent of the salary cap, so Lillard taking 27.5 percent is rather generous and, along with having no opt outs, speaks to his putting what's best for the team over what's best for his gross earning power.)