OAKLAND — Portland point guard Damian Lillard, the Oakland native, received an endorsement as a potential All-Star Game reserve from Warriors coach Mark Jackson.
Jackson, whose team will face the Trail Blazers in front of a hometown crowd for Lillard at Oracle Arena on Saturday, likes what he has seen from the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year who this season has averaged 21 points per game.
“He’s playing at an extremely high level, should be an All-Star,” said Jackson, a former point guard. “It’s good for the game the way he conducts himself, the way he competes. He’s going to be a problem for this league, his opponents for a long time.”
An injured Kobe Bryant earlier this month encouraged fans to vote for Lillard and younger players instead. But Lillard finished seventh in the Western Conference backcourt balloting with 280,966 votes while the Warriors’ Stephen Curry finished first with more than a million.
Lillard enters tonight’s Trail Blazers game third in the NBA with 131 made 3-pointers behind only Curry and Klay Thompson. Of the three, he has the best shooting percentage from beyond the arc at 42 percent despite having missed his past 10 attempts.
“He’s a tough guard,” Thompson said. “He was pro-ready when he came out of college. He has a really well-rounded game as far as playmaking, shooting so it’ll be a good challenge for us tomorrow night.”