At any given time during an NBA season there are about 450 players on roster across the league; 15 of which will make All-NBA teams 1-3. For the 2014-2015 season, LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard were among those 15. Each of them was voted onto the All-NBA 3rd team by a group of 125 media members. It is Aldridge’s second time on an All-NBA team (3rd team, 2010-2011) and Lillard’s first. Each team shakes out accordingly in order of votes received:
Because human beings are spiteful, biased, little buggers, the voting will never be perfect (as illustrated by James falling short of unanimous selection), but I think this is about right for our Trail Blazers. One could make the case that Aldridge should take Love’s place on the 2nd team because he actually plays defense, but then again, adhering to that same criterion would probably bump Lillard from this list for someone like John Wall or Mike Conley (both of whom are equally deserving). All in all, I am pleased with the placement and, moreover, the inclusion.
I do, however, think the media is overrating Lillard ever so slightly. Notice anyone missing from this list that could have possibly displaced Lillard from the 3rd team? Call it blasphemy if you like, but I think at least Carmelo Anthony is more worthy of the honor. My personal opinion aside, this selection is big for Lillard. You may have surmised from an earlier factoid that Aldridge did not make an All-NBA team until his fifth season. Lillard has set his own bar very high very early, and if there is one thing he likes to do, it is surpass expectations.
For the Trail Blazers, this is huge. They have not had two players named All-NBA in the same season since Bill Walton and Maurice Lucas in 1977-1978. Portland is starting to turn heads. Aldridge and Lillard are becoming the best one-two punch we have seen in Rip City since Clyde Drexler and Terry Porter, though I would say they have a long way to go yet. If nothing else, this honor is indicative of a bright future for the team. Whether that future remains bright in the long term is up to Aldridge in 2015, but I think another season like this one could mean seeing this duo for many years to come.