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Blazers’ Damian Lillard hopes to see CJ McCollum make All-Star team someday

Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers star guard Damian Lillard has had to fight for each and every one of his three All-Star appearances in a talent-loaded Western Conference, and while he was “snubbed” in the 2016 and 2017 iterations of the February weekend festivities, he’s hoping backcourt partner CJ McCollum doesn’t suffer the same fate.

“CJ is an All-Star talent, for sure, there’s no question,” Lillard told Michael Scotto of The Athletic. “I would love to see him make an All-Star game. That would be awesome.”

Lillard put together his best season in 2017-18, posting 26.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 1.1 steals per game — which ultimately also earned him a first-team All-NBA honor.

Yet McCollum wasn’t far behind, putting up 21.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game through 81 games. One can argue he had an even better season in 2016-17, putting up 23.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game while shooting a blistering 48 percent from the field, 42.1 percent from distance, and 91.2 percent from the foul line.

So what has kept McCollum from being among the other All-Stars? His competition at the guard spot is as fierce as it comes, with the likes of Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Chris Paul, and Lillard among them, vying for spots.

With only five or six spots available, McCollum was 12th in the fan voting (96,818 votes), finishing behind the likes of Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and Lonzo Ball in the popular vote.

While the format for All-Star voting has changed, allowing for a split with media voting, that has yet to benefit the Ohio native.