Jan. 24, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) scores past Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Anderson Varejao (17) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Portland Trail Blazers: Can Lillard be an All-Star this year?

January 11, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (0) celebrates after making a three-point basket against the Golden State Warriors during the third quarter at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Trail Blazers 103-97. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Damian Lillard’s great start to the season has not only pushed the Portland Trail Blazers into serious playoff contention, but also led some people to speculate whether the 6th pick of the 2012 NBA draft has what it takes to make the All-Star game this year.

If NBA history is any indication, Lillard has his work cut out for him. The last rookie guard that made the cut in his first NBA season was none other than the great Michael Jordan, who was a rookie All-Star 28 years ago.

According to Marc J. Spears, of Yahoo! Sports, Lillard is well aware of the stiff competition:

“That says everything when Michael Jordan was the last guard to do it,”

“Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul – I think they are all definite All-Stars,” Lillard said. “It will be tough for me being a rookie and those guys putting in so much more time than I have.”

– Damian Lillard

Lillard has had a spectacular rookie season, averaging 18.3 points, 6.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds. His most impressive performance came in a losing effort against the Golden State Warriors on Jan 11. His family was in attendance, which seemed to spark some extra incentive in Lillard, who dropped 37 points, shooting 7-12 from beyond the arc.

As impressive as Lillard has been, he is absolutely right in acknowledging the fact that the Western Conference is filled with elite guards. To do what Lillard is doing in his first year is amazing, but there are other veteran guards who are doing just as much or more, and Lillard is a prime example of a player who is yet to earn his stripes.

What do you think? Has Lillard shown enough to be the first All-Star rookie guard since Michael Jordan, or will he need a couple more years? Let us know in the comment section below.

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