Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
The NBA on TNT crew revealed the reserves for this month’s All-Star game in Cleveland on Thursday night. Unsurprisingly, the Bulls are on the outside looking in---for now---thanks to a 23-26 record and decreased scoring output from DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine.
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This marks the first time since 2020 that the Bulls are shut out of the All-Star game, although NBA commissioner Adam Silver is expected to name an injury replacement for the injured Julius Randle. LaVine made the first of his two straight appearances in 2021. DeRozan joined LaVine in 2022 and then also played in the game last season.
DeRozan, who ranks second behind teammate Coby White in total minutes played and is having another solid season, represented the Bulls’ only outside reserve chance. But his scoring is down in part because his usage rate is down. He’s also shooting below his stellar percentages from his first two seasons with the Bulls.
DeRozan is averaging 22 points, 5.3 assists and 4 rebounds while shooting 46.7 percent with a usage rate of 24.7. Last season, DeRozan shot 50.4 percent while averaging 24.5 points, 5.1 assists and 4.6 rebounds. His usage rate stood at 27.8.
LaVine, currently sidelined by a sprained ankle that largely has healed and persistent right foot inflammation, has only appeared in 25 of the Bulls’ 49 games. His scoring average has dropped from 24.8 points per game to 19.5, while his field-goal and 3-point percentages also are down from his All-Star seasons.
The Eastern Conference reserves are Jalen Brunson of the New York Knicks (and Stevenson High School); Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics; Donovan Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers; Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat; Randle of the New York Knicks; Tyrese Maxey of the Philadelphia 76ers and Paolo Banchero of the Orlando Magic.
White is enjoying a breakout season that will prominently place him in the Most Improved Player voting at season’s end. But with the Bulls’ sub-.500 record and such a crowded Eastern Conference guard picture, he had little chance.
White has posted career-high averages pretty much across the board, including 19 points per game, 5.1 assists, 4.7 rebounds and shooting percentages of 46.1 percent overall and 39.1 percent from 3-point range. White ranks tied for eighth leaguewide with 136 made 3-pointers.
The Celtics' Derrick White and Kristaps Porzingis plus Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young are among the candidates who likely would get an injury replacement nod ahead of any Bulls.