As expected, Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine has been selected as an Eastern Conference reserve for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game, joining All-Star starter DeMar DeRozan in the Cleveland festivities. This is LaVine’s second consecutive All-Star selection.
Here’s the full list of reserves:
The Eastern Conference reserve pool for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game: pic.twitter.com/VlAWUqegB6— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) February 4, 2022
The Western Conference reserve pool for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game: pic.twitter.com/cSpk7LZypp— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) February 4, 2022
LaVine had a case to join DeRozan as a starter, but that distinction went to Hawks star Trae Young. LaVine finished third among Eastern Conference guards in the All-Star voting, though he did finish second to DeRozan in player voting.
The 26-year-old has had another tremendous season despite dealing with a variety of health ailments. LaVine played through a thumb injury early in the season that seemed to affect him, and then he missed time with COVID-19 for a second consecutive season. Most recently, the Bulls star dealt with a knee injury that cost him a few games, and he hasn’t looked quite the same since returning. He’s now on the injury report with back spasms (seemingly tweaked his back against the Magic) but will play against the Raptors on Thursday.
Even with all this, LaVine is averaging 24.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 34.1 minutes per game. He’s shooting a stellar 48.4% from the field, 39.5% from 3-point range and 87.4% from the charity stripe. His numbers and efficiency aren’t quite as prolific as last season, but they’re still damn good and now he’s doing it on a winning team that’s currently in first place in the Eastern Conference.
The LaVine-DeRozan duo has been extremely potent after facing a bunch of questions about their fit before the season, and they both rank in the top six in clutch scoring. DeRozan is third and LaVine is sixth.
The Bulls will need these two to continue to carry them, especially over the next couple of months as they deal with key long-term injuries. The offense is even more important now that the defense has fallen back to the pack.
Congrats to LaVine and DeRozan on their All-Star selections, and congrats also to Ayo Dosunmu for his Rising Stars selection.