The question of who is the better player between Damian Lillard and Luka Doncic has been a hot topic lately, as Luka Doncic has recently been selected as an All-Star starter over Damian Lillard. Damian Lillard is a multiple-time All-Star, while Luka Doncic looks like a superstar for years to come.
Luka Doncic was selected for the All-Star game heavily by fan vote, while the media and the players put Damian Lillard above him. Damian Lillard gets less exposure on the international level, leading to the results.
Luka Doncic getting the start because of the fan vote. Media and players had Dame Lillard No. 2; players and media had Doncic third. But vote is weighted and fans decide tiebreaker. Fans had Doncic No. 2.
— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) February 19, 2021
In this article, we will compare Luka Doncic and Damian Lillard over multiple categories this season: perhaps that can help people make the decision as to which of them should have started in the All-Star game.
Scoring – Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard is a better scorer than Luka Doncic this season, averaging 29.8 PPG to Luka Doncic’s 29.1 PPG. While the difference is minuscule, Lillard is still a better scorer due to his elite ability from deep, being able to make shots from the longest of distances. While Doncic’s scoring is elite, he struggles at times from the perimeter, while at times forcing bad shots.
Damian Lillard has had years to master being the first option on offense for a playoff team. While Doncic and Lillard are both first options for their respective teams in scoring, Lillard has more experience doing it on a higher level: his scoring has led them to be the 4th seed in the Western Conference while the Mavericks with Doncic are 10th. Lillard gets the edge here.
Athleticism – Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard is actually a fairly good dunker for his size. There have been many examples of his athleticism in seasons past, and he can sneakily hit someone with a posterizing dunk. His athleticism is above average for a point guard.
Luka Doncic is a good player, but he isn’t exactly known for hitting people with super athletic moves, relying on his skills instead. Damian Lillard gets the edge here, simply because Doncic’s style of play isn’t particularly athletic as compared to the high flyers of the league.
Defense – Even
Damian Lillard and Luka Doncic are both known as huge offensive powerhouses, who can carry their team in scoring and playmaking. They can both stuff the stat sheet and get monster shooting nights. However, neither of them is known as an elite defender. While they are both passable on the defensive end, their value primarily comes from the other side of the ball.
Clutch – Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard is known as one of the most clutch players in the NBA. Lillard is well known for his heroics in the last moments of the game. One of his most notable shots in the playoffs was a deep three against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Damian Lillard is a big-time scorer in the fourth quarter and there is plenty of video evidence to support that.
While Luka Doncic has his clutch moments, he simply hasn’t developed as much of a clutch reputation as Damian Lillard. Doncic’s shot creation is elite, but he still needs to develop into a consistent late-game scorer. Damian Lillard is the more clutch player right now, though Doncic has the rest of the season to show that he can be clutch on that level.
Leader – Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard has been leading the Portland Trail Blazers for a while now: while he hasn’t come close to winning a championship, he has stayed loyal to the city and the franchise. Being viewed as the face of the franchise for many years has allowed Lillard to develop some elite leadership skills, and it shows in the way his teammates speak of him, and the way that the Trail Blazers manage to stay competitive every season.
Damian Lillard has built a reputation of being the type of leader people want to be around and follow 🙌 pic.twitter.com/jt1bXl3uzM
— Blazers Nation (@BlazersNationCP) February 16, 2021
While Luka Doncic has the potential to develop into a good leader in the future, he is still a younger player who has the time to grow and mature. Eventually, Luka Doncic may become that type of leader that can will his team to the playoffs, but it will take some time and experience. Damian Lillard gets the edge here.
Basketball IQ – Luka Doncic
Luka Doncic is a player who can make plays that shouldn’t be possible. He is an elite passer who is averaging 9.4 APG to Lillard’s 7.7 APG. Lillard is a solid passer, but he isn’t quite on the level of Doncic. Luka Doncic has the ability to pass that is similar to some of the greats, oftentimes delivering on extremely risky passes.
Luka Doncic is simply on another planet with his ability to read the game. While Damian Lillard is a solid playmaker, his main asset is his ability to score the ball. Luka Doncic’s passing is mesmerizing to watch, and he gets the nod here.
Impact – Even
Damian Lillard and Luka Doncic both provide a huge impact on their teams. They are both the go-to guys for their respective teams, and their coaches trust them with the ball in their hands. Doncic and Lillard have both shown the ability to handle a tremendous offensive load and make their teammates better. With that being said, they are even in this category, as both are franchise centerpieces that can carry a team.
1 on 1 Game – Luka Doncic
Luka Doncic is one of the best players in the league when it comes to isolation. Doncic’s playstyle has often been compared to James Harden’s, as they are both elites when it comes to scoring one on one. While Lillard is no slouch in isolation, Doncic’s larger build allows him to have an easier time creating his own shot.
Damian Lillard is clearly a good player, and the isolation skill sets between the two players are close. However, Luka Doncic’s bread and butter in his scoring come from going one on one against a defender, and he gets the selection here.
This season, Damian Lillard has been the better player from a winning standpoint. There comes a point where statistics can only tell us so much: plenty of players score more than LeBron James, but only a few have a similar level of impact. Lillard’s team has been better under his leadership than the Mavericks have been under Luka Doncic. However, Doncic still has the potential to turn their season around.
While Luka Doncic is an elite talent who can produce amazing box score numbers, at some point, basketball is about winning. Damian Lillard has been able to consistently carry his team, while the Mavericks are currently out of the top 8 seeds in the conference. It is clear that Damian Lillard is having a better overall season, though he may accumulate lower numbers than Luka Doncic.
Damian Lillard vs. Luka Doncic 5-2
Both guards have the individual statistics to make the All-Star starting spot. While Luka Doncic definitely deserves his spot this season due to his individual statistics and ability, Damian Lillard has been carrying a winning team to a playoff seed. Luka Doncic is for sure an All-Star, but perhaps Damian Lillard should have started in its place as he is having a better season and has brought his team to wins over and over again.