Here’s the Eastern Conference All-Star backcourt players last season: Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, Bradley Beal, Kyle Lowry, Victor Oladipo, Ben Simmons, and Dwyane Wade (via a special designation from the Commissioner).
Next on the list of All-Star starter voting (a combination of fans, media, and player votes): Chicago’s Zach LaVine. He averaged 23.7 points a game last season, shot 37.4 percent from three, had 4.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists a night — borderline All-Star numbers.
This season, Zach LaVine wants to break through and be an All-Star, especially with the game itself coming to Chicago, he told Eric Woodyard of ESPN. He also gets what that will take.
“Everything comes with winning. I feel like if we win and we’re in the right positions, the sky is the limit for me,” LaVine told ESPN following Thursday’s practice. “I had an All-Star-caliber year last year, but we had 22 wins so it got a little bit swept under the rug. But that’s how it’s supposed to be when you have 20 wins. But if I continue to play the way I’m supposed to, there’s no reason I shouldn’t be an All-Star or All-NBA type guy.”
“I expect to be there through the whole weekend, and if my legs are right, obviously I would love to [compete in the dunk contest], but I’ve got to make sure what’s best for me and the team,” LaVine said. “I’ve been on that stage before, but I haven’t been on the Sunday night one, so I expect to be there and I expect us to move forward.”
It’s an obtainable goal, but some breaks need to go his way.
LaVine is going to get buckets, but will it be at the same rate on a better, deeper Bulls team that will get full seasons from Lauri Markkanen and Otto Porter, plus has added Tomas Satoransky among others? That’s a team that should help get the Bulls more wins and notice, but the depth could mean fewer points for LaVine.
To make the All-Star Game LaVine will have to beat out some very good guards, but the league does like a player from the host market in the game (Markkanen has a shot as well).
Whatever happens with the Sunday game, hopefully LaVine is in the Dunk Contest on Saturday. That is the show we all need.