Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports
Yes, this is how loaded the Western Conference is.
You would think that Damian Lillard would be rewarded for the incredible first half of the season the Portland Trail Blazers have enjoyed. You'd also like to think that his multiple game-winners would factor in alongside his averages of 21.4 points and 5.8 assists, but Lillard is fighting an uphill battle.
Lillard has Kobe Bryant and Tony Parker to thank for that. Based on the latest ballot results, Bryant is a lock to be named a starter, despite barely playing this season.
With Stephen Curry likely being the second starter, you would think that Chris Paul and James Harden will have a firm grip on the two reserve backcourt spots.
That leaves the two wild-card spots, which could conceivably be Parker and Lillard, if it weren't for Dirk Nowitzki, who is having one of the best shooting years of his entire career.
That means it will most likely come down to Parker and Lillard. Both players are very similar statistically—Lillard scores a bit better and Parker distributes more effectively—but you have to think Parker (and Nowitzki) will get the veteran nod from coaches in the conference.
If Lillard is snubbed, it probably won't be for long. Bryant will almost certainly miss the All-Star Game, so Lillard should be tabbed as an injury replacement. If Paul can't go, other worthy point guards like Goran Dragic and Ty Lawson could be next in line, but Lillard will get the first crack if he's left off initially.