Bulls well-represented in first All-Star voting returns


The first NBA All-Star fan voting returns are out, and the Chicago Bulls are well-represented.

With 1,487,598 votes, DeMar DeRozan leads all Eastern Conference guards. With 776,043, Zach LaVine ranks fourth, trailing Trae Young and James Harden. And with 92,936 votes, Nikola Vučević ranks 10th among Eastern Conference frontcourt players.

DeRozan (26.9 points) and LaVine (26.3) rank fourth and seventh in the NBA in scoring average, respectively — first and fifth when zoomed in to total fourth quarter points. As the best scoring duo in the league, their candidacies, whether as starters or reserves, should be all but cemented.

Vučević, meanwhile, is closer to the fringe. Since being mired in an early-season shooting slump, he's pulled his averages up to 15.9 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1 steal while shooting 42.9 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from 3-point range, and is currently working on a streak of six consecutive double-doubles.

And the Bulls, as a team, sit 25-10 and first in the East as the season approaches its halfway point.

“Yeah, for sure," LaVine said after Thursday's practice when asked if the Bulls should have multiple All-Stars. "We’re number one in the East right now. We’re putting up great numbers. DeMar is having I feel like an MVP-type season. And I don’t feel like I’m that far behind him.”

If DeRozan earns an All-Star nod, it would be the fifth in his 13-year career. LaVine is gunning for his second, while Vučević is going for his third. Both LaVine and Vučević (while still a member of the Magic) appeared as reserves for last season's game in Atlanta.

The Bulls have 15 times placed multiple players in the All-Star game, most recently in 2015-16 when Jimmy Butler and Pau Gasol both earned bids. Only once has the franchise placed three: In 1993-94, when B.J. Armstrong, Horace Grant and Scottie Pippen all garnered selections.

The next round of fan voting returns will be released on Jan. 13. All-Star starters (two guards, three frontcourt for each conference) are selected by a combination of fan (50 percent), media (25 percent) and player (25 percent) voting. Then, head coaches vote on the reserves.

The 2022 NBA All-Star game is scheduled for Feb. 20 in Cleveland.

NBC Sports Chicago's K.C. Johnson contributed

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