After playing in the All-Star Game and participating in five total events during the weekend last year, Lillard was not voted in by the coaches as a reserve this season. He is averaging a career-high 21.8 points this season to go along with 6.2 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals.
The Trail Blazers are currently the No. 3 seed in the West, and Lillard said he expected to join teammate LaMarcus Aldridge in New York next month.
“I am not one of those guys that says ‘I should be in over this guy or that guy’ because I’m not a hater,” said Lillard. “I got respect for each guy that made the roster and I think they deserve to. But at the same time I feel really disrespected. That’s honestly how I feel.”
“I’m definitely going to take it personal,” Lillard said. “I said I’d be pissed off about it, and I am.”
Earlier on Friday, Lillard said he would be happy to replace the injured Kobe Bryant but would still be motivated by not being voted in by either the fans or coaches. After commissioner Adam Silver selected Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins to fill in for Bryant, Lillard posted a response on Instagram.
It is the second time in the past year that Lillard has been excluded from a team after he was cut from Team USA before the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Lillard and the Trail Blazers play the Atlanta Hawks on Friday.
- Paul Palladino