LaVine supports DeRozan's player of month case after snub


Tuesday afternoon, the NBA announced that Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid won Eastern Conference player of the month honors for December, beating out Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan and a slew of other candidates.

Zach LaVine's reaction?

LaVine's frustraton — and support for DeRozan — has ample merit. In eight December appearances, DeRozan averaged 29.3 points (sixth in the NBA), 5.6 assists and 4.3 rebounds, shooting 51.5 percent from the field, 62.5 percent (5-for-8) from 3-point range and 85.1 percent from the free-throw line. The Bulls sported a 9-2 record for the month, and an 8-0 record with DeRozan in the lineup, capped by a game-winning buzzer beater to sink the Pacers on New Year's Eve.

Embiid, meanwhile, averaged 29.2 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.3 blocks (49.6/39.1/84.5 percent shooting splits) in 13 appearances, leading the 76ers to an 8-5 record in those games.

DeRozan's case was likely hurt by his missing three games in health and safety protocols from Dec. 6 - 11, leaving him with five less appearances under his belt than Embiid by month's end.

But look at the bright side, Bulls fans: DeRozan, LaVine and the rest of the team can now add another chip to their collective shoulder. And, with a two-game cushion atop the Eastern Conference at 25-10, their sights are likely set higher than player of the month awards.

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