On Thursday the NBA announced its All-NBA teams for the 2013-14 season and to my surprise, the Portland Trail Blazers got two players named to the team. Keep in mind there are only 15 players selected for this honor each season, so for Portland to have two is amazing recognition of what they accomplished individually as well as from a team standpoint.
Here are the teams as announced:
As with anything regarding awards, fans, media and players alike have whined and pined for their favorite players and why they didn’t make the cut — it’s only natural and makes sense. It seems to be the standard reaction when almost anything is announced these days — quickly disagree and give your take why “your guy” should have made it. Just appreciate the individuals and their accomplishments and move on people!
As previously mentioned, even players get bent out of shape regarding these selections. Russell Westbrook tweeted out only “Wow!!!!” just after the announcement was made and he found he was left off the All-NBA team — Westbrook later deleted the tweet.
This is Damian Lillard’s first nod for All-NBA and given that it’s only his second season, that’s pretty damned impressive. Last year he ran away with Rookie of the Year and this year he continued his ascension to point guard greatness with multiple game winners and overall improved play. He also helped lead this young roster to their first playoff series victory since the 2000 playoffs, before they were thwarted by the seemingly invincible San Antonio Spurs.
Lillard averaged 20.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.6 assists this season with shooting splits of .424/.394/.871. While his shooting can become more efficient and he can still stand to increase his assist numbers, Lillard has shown the type of leadership that few have in this league. He will only be 24 when the 2014-15 season starts which means we have about 3-4 years until we see “prime” Dame — watch out Western Conference.
This is Aldridge’s second All-NBA selection (his first was back in the 2010-11 season). He joins Clyde Drexler (four), Bill Walton (two) and Brandon Roy (two) as the only Trail Blazers with multiple All-NBA selections. Aldridge was an early MVP candidate but as the Blazers slid post All-Star break the star forward’s momentum slowed, but he still managed to earn this honor.
Aldridge averaged 23.2 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists this season — all career highs. His shooting splits were a modest .458/.200/.822 and that field goal percentage of 45.8 was by far the lowest of his career — his previous low had been 48.4 (three times). LMA received heavy criticism from some (including me) regarding his lack of aggressiveness and his need to settle for tough, fade away mid-range shots but overall Aldridge had a phenomenal season.
While there are always improvements to be made, it would appear that the Blazers have found a formidable one-two punch that teams will have to be weary of for years to come. Aldridge is entering the final season of a five-year, $62.5 million deal and Portland’s number one priority will undoubtedly be resigning LaMarcus Aldridge to keep this run going.
For now, realize there will be hate thrown both of these players’ way for these selections, but while arguments can be made for a number of other players who could have made it both of these guys deserve this recognition. My early bold prediction for Lillard is that he will end up with more All-NBA selections that Clyde had. When it’s all said and done Damian Lillard will have the most All-NBA selections in Blazers’ franchise history.