Based on the fan voting, it seemed pretty obvious that DeMar DeRozan was going to be voted in as a 2022 NBA All-Star starter. Sure enough, the Bulls star was announced as a starter on Thursday night:
Making his 5th #NBAAllStar appearance... DeMar DeRozan of the @chicagobulls.— #NBAAllStar (@NBAAllStar) January 28, 2022
Drafted as the 9th pick in 2009 out of USC, @DeMar_DeRozan is averaging 26.4 PPG, 5.0 RPG and 4.8 APG for the Bulls this season. pic.twitter.com/mchdyFKkBJ
Not bad for a guy who got panned as the worst signing of the offseason:
While plenty of people will quibble with DeRozan’s status as a guard on the ballot, he unquestionably deserves a starting spot in the All-Star Game this season. He has helped transform the Bulls into one of the best teams in the NBA with his efficient scoring, stellar playmaking, clutch heroics and leadership.
DeRozan has been a borderline MVP candidate this season and an absolute joy to watch. I was certainly skeptical of the Bulls’ big move to get him, but it has worked out better than I could’ve ever imagined.
Meanwhile, Zach LaVine had a case to be an All-Star starter as well with DeRozan in the backcourt. LaVine finished third in the fan voting behind DeRozan and Trae Young, and it was the Hawks star who ultimately got the other East guard spot. Interestingly enough, the players voted for LaVine over Young:
Ernie Johnson just announced on TNT that the players voted Zach LaVine an All-Star starter over Trae Young.— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) January 28, 2022
Game respects game.
Charles Barkley was a big LaVine proponent as well on the TNT broadcast, with Young noticing:
Truly Blessed !! Thank you to the Fans ❤️ ALWAYS LOVE !! 2X!!— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) January 28, 2022
Chuck eat a Twinkie and be quiet sometimes ✌
LaVine putting up big numbers on a Bulls team that’s much better than the Hawks made this a reasonable debate, but Young is putting up some truly prolific stats for the second-best offense in the NBA. LaVine is going to get voted in as a reserve, so I’m not going to sweat this too much.
So, congrats to DeMar DeRozan for this honor, and we’ll get to congratulate Zach LaVine soon enough. Here’s the full list of starters, which also includes Andrew Wiggins.