Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic’s selection as an All-Star starter was a shock to many fans and even Doncic himself.
The 21-year-old admitted as much on Saturday, agreeing with fans who argued that Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard deserved the nod instead.
“I didn’t expect that I was going to start this game,” he said, via ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “I know that maybe Lillard deserved it more than me.”
There is an argument to be made for Doncic, who has comparable numbers to Lillard.
He is averaging 29.1 points, 8.6 rebounds and 9.4 assists per game while Lillard is averaging 29.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 7.7 assists epr game.
Doncic also holds the edge in field-goal percentage – 47.5% vs. 46.3% -- while Lillard has a better three-point percentage – 33.5% vs. 31.6% -- and is better from the free-throw line – 79.5% vs. 75.8%.
Lillard, who will still be going to the All-Star Game as a reserve, seemed to shrug it off despite the outrage among his fan base.
“When I was younger I cared a lot more,” the 30-year-old veteran said. “Obviously, that’s an accomplishment to be an All-Star starter. It’s something that I haven’t done, so of course, I would like to have been named the starter, but I honestly wasn’t surprised. I wasn’t upset about it. I don’t even have cable at my house right now. So I was sitting there feeding my kids and people started calling me.”