DeMar DeRozan’s unexpected year 13 renaissance continues to pay major dividends for the Chicago Bulls. After hitting back-to-back, buzzer-beating game-winners on the road against the Pacers and the Wizards, DeRozan returned to the Windy City with a 29-point effort to lead the Bulls past the Magic.
Along the way, more and more hoops pundits have come to realize that this isn’t just some fluke or hot streak. The Bulls are back and DeRozan deserves every MVP mention he’s getting.
Of course, the 32-year-old probably isn’t going to win that particular award. He may be averaging 26.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game while making a career-high 36.2% of his three-point attempts, but he still has to contend with the likes of Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo for the NBA‘s top individual honor.
That said, DeRozan looks to be firmly on pace to earn another lofty distinction. Specifically, a starting spot in the 2022 All-Star Game.
DeRozan Resonating With Fans in the All-Star Vote
On Thursday, the first fan returns for the 2022 NBA All-Star Vote were released by the league. As one might expect, Stephen Curry and Durant were top vote-getters in their respective conferences (followed by LeBron James and the Greek Freak). However, DeRozan had a strong showing as well.
The Bulls star has logged the most fan votes among Eastern Conference players classified as guards, pulling down almost 1.5 million votes. DeRozan was followed by James Harden, who was closing in on the 900,000 mark, while Trae Young came in at third with just over 862,000 votes.
As incredible as it is that DeRozan could return to the midseason classic for the first time since 2018 and do so as a starter, he may not be the only Bulls player to start the game in Cleveland. For his part, Zach LaVine was the No. 4 pick among guards with just over 776,000 votes.
He’s got some ground to make up, to be sure, but whether he earns a starting spot or not, LaVine will more than likely be participating in the festivities. And, as he sees it, Chicago has earned the right to send multiple players.
“Yeah, for sure,” LaVine said of the Bulls having multiple All-Stars on Thursday, via NBC Sports Chicago. “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.”
LaVine is logging a 26-5-4 line on shooting splits of 50-42-86 this season.
The next All-Star fan voting update is slated for Thursday, January 13.
Vucevic Hits the List, As Do Former Bulls Greats
DeRozan and LaVine weren’t the only Bulls players to make a showing in the first All-Star vote returns. Big man Nikola Vucevic, who has averaged 15.9 points, 11.6 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.0 steals per contest while nailing 35.3% of his triples, was the No. 10 vote-getter in the frontcourt group.
Meanwhile, Bulls alums Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose — the latter of whom won an MVP with Chicagos back in 2011 — came in fifth among frontcourt players and seventh among guards, respectively.