LeBron James Selects Damian Lillard With First Reserve Pick Of 2021 All-Star Draft

by Casey Holdahl
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It’s probably fair to say at this point that Damian Lillard is one of LeBron James’ favorite players.

For the third-straight year, James selected Lillard to be on “Team LeBron” at the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, scheduled to be played this Sunday at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. And this time, “King James” used his first reserve pick of the All-Star draft and the 11th pick overall to select Lillard while tapping his wrist, an homage to the 6-3 guard’s “Dame Time” celebration.

Lillard will be joined by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Chris Paul, Ben Simmons, Jaylen Brown, Paul George, Nikola Jokic and Domantas Sabonis on Team LeBron.

Kevin Durant, the top vote-getter in the East, selected Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, Joel Embiid, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Zach LaVine, Kawhi Leonard, Donovan Mitchel, Julius Randal, Jason Tatum, Nikola Vucevic and Zion Williams to play for “Team Durant.”

While he didn’t know for sure until after Thursday’s draft on TNT, Lillard had a sneaking suspicious that LeBron, who recently referred to Lillard as “one of the most disrespected players” in the NBA, would select him for his All-Star team. Between being selected by the future Hall of Famer the last two years, their relationship off the court and their “Space Jam” collaboration, it was a safe bet that James would tap Lillard early in the draft.

“Every year that they’ve done (the draft) I’ve been on LeBron’s team,” said Lillard. “I think it’s pretty cool that he picks me every year, I get to play with Bron every year in the All-Star Game cause he pick me. He’s the best player of our generation, the greatest player of our generation. I’m a Trail Blazer, I’ve been here my whole career, so just to have the opportunity to go out there and mix it up with the rest of the best players in the league and rock out with Bron a little bit is always fun.”

Over four All-Star Game appearances, Lillard has averaged 14.8 points on 43 percent shooting from the field and 38 percent shooting from three, 3.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 17.7 minutes. However, Lillard has played at least 20 minutes in his last two All-Star Games, and is likely to play at least that much in the 2021 exhibition.

Lillard will now travel to Atlanta on Saturday, play in the game on Sunday before returning home to Portland on Monday to rest and prepare for the second half of the 2020-21 season.


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