DeRozan Proves Them Wrong, All-Star Voting Details, LaVine Breaks the News, and Other Bulls Bullets

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DeRozan Proves Them Wrong, All-Star Voting Details, LaVine Breaks the News, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

Friday Fun Fact: For the first time since the 2016-17 season, the Chicago Bulls have an All-Star starter!

•   Thanks to a fan-vote lead DeRozan never relinquished, we knew last night’s announcement was coming, but that still didn’t make the official word any less meaningful. While seeing the Chicago Bulls second in the Eastern Conference standings is the best reminder of the team’s resurgence this season, seeing the franchise represented among the league’s top players on February 20th will be a close second. More precisely, the fact that representation will come, in part, from DeMar DeRozan speaks volumes about how far this organization has become. A franchise somewhat renowned for its free-agent failures, the team will show everyone next month that the Chicago Bulls were smarter than most this summer. And that’s important. DeRozan is this freshly brewed front office’s proof that this organization can put high-end talent in a position to succeed. Come to Chicago, and it could immediately pay off.

•   With that said, DeRozan deserves a round of applause that leaves the hands red. Not only did he choose Chicago, but he embraced all the challenges that came with it. He’s played the most polished and complimentary basketball of his career, helping head coach Billy Donovan establish an unselfish, confident, and winning environment that fans have not seen in years. We also can not deny how darn poetic his ascension has been in the wake of all the offseason chatter. Some analysts threw milk at the contract he signed while others pointed and laughed. DeRozan sat alone at a lunch table, but it’s now packed with the most popular kids at school.

“It was tough, hearing all the criticism about your game, this that this that, but I just stay true to myself,” DeRozan said when asked about the adversity he’s faced over his career. “This is just a true testament, moments like this, to players everywhere, never lose confidence in your abilities, and your work ethic, and what you put into this game because it will definitely give it back to you.”

•   Feast your eyes on DeRozan’s artistry:

•   Aside from DeRozan’s back-to-back buzzer-beaters, his All-Star highlight reel isn’t going to lift anyone out of their seat. He isn’t flying like Ja Morant. He isn’t bullying people like Joel Embiid. He isn’t passing like Nikola Jokic. He isn’t chucking it like Stephen Curry. But DeRozan’s lack of those things is actually what makes him stand out. Few players in this league play as in control and modestly dominant as DeRozan. His ability to play at his own pace and relentlessly get to his spots on the floor is a unique brand of mesmerizing, so much so that neither the players nor media could go against what the fans had to say.

•   The NBA released the final voting results, and we were inches away from having an all-Bulls Eastern Conference backcourt. LaVine finished third in fan voting (which accounts for 50% of the final tally) behind Trae Young by just 268,815 votes. He also lost the media vote (25%) by 36. This was enough to keep him from edging out Young, even with a victory in the player vote by 26 votes.

•   Young deserves to be an All-Star, let me make that clear. But game recognizes game, and it’s quite telling that LaVine garnered this respect from his peers, and DeRozan knows it:

“In my opinion, I thought Zach should have been in there as well,” DeRozan told reporters last night. “You see it from the player’s reaction. Nothing against Trae at all, but I wish he would have gotten in there. That would have been dope to have both of us in there as starters.”

•   Charles Barkley also knows it:

•   I also think it’s kind of silly that LaVine has been snubbed from All-Star consideration in the past, in large part, because of his team’s success. Young has had a tremendous season, but he’s sitting on a roster that is 12th in the Eastern Conference with a record of 22-25. Does that not matter now? Again, I’m not saying Young shouldn’t be an All-Star, I just find that a bit odd. Whatever. LaVine will earn his keep when reserves are announced on February 3rd. He also appears to be just fine with the outcome, even breaking the news of DeRozan’s accomplishment on the team plane last night:

•   Flight 8 seems to be in a very good place.

•   I don’t know who thought this was funny … but it’s not.

•   Bears checked their box, and now it’s the Blackhawks turn:

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.