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Zach LaVine deserves to be an NBA All-Star this season

Let me state the obvious here – I’m a Chicago Bulls fan. Yes, I’m a Zach LaVine fan.

It’s easy for me to admit, I’m biased.

So naturally, yes, I believe that he should finally be making his NBA All-Star game debut next month (let’s not even get into the debate about whether the game should even be happening).

It’s no secret how hard the Bulls’ guard has worked to arrive at this moment. One of the hardest workers in the league, LaVine improved in each of his NBA seasons. He’s improved his scoring average in each campaign, discounting his first season with the Bulls when he was recovering from an ACL injury. This, despite the constant turnstile of head coaches he’s had to endure through his career.

He’s risen from 10.1 points per game as a rookie, to one of the game’s smoothest scorers in 2020-21, posting 28.2 points per game.

The former UCLA star has had his detractors, of course. They’ve pointed to his lack of defensive acumen as reasons to omit him from much recognition. They’ll say he doesn’t make enough plays for his teammates. Or that he doesn’t win enough. Fair criticism that even LaVine has acknowledged. To be fair, LaVine hasn’t often found himself in cultures that have cultivated an atmosphere conducive to winning.

That’s why this season is different. Whether the Bulls’ leading scorer ever becomes a lockdown defender is, well, doubtful. He’s not the playmaker that Stephen Curry is. What he is though, is one of the NBA’s leading scorers – and he’s doing it while keeping Chicago in the playoff conversation.

Zach LaVine has emerged for the Chicago Bulls this season

Still just 25 years old, LaVine is posting All-Star level statistics this season. His campaign for his first All-Star nod has placed him in the top-five for scoring. His playmaking skills have shown visible improvement and he’s quickly developed into less of a trade chip and much more into a franchise cornerstone for the Chicago Bulls.

Flirting with an impressive 50/40/90 stat-line, here are LaVine’s per-game numbers through 24 games this season:

28.2 points

5.3 rebounds

5.3 assists

51.8 FG percentage

42.5 3-point percentage

86.3% free throw percentage

22.5 PER (league average is 15)

61.5 eFG percentage

65.2 true shooting percentage

112.8 offensive rating

Just put Zach LaVine in the game already

Zach LaVine should be an All-Star this season. It’s that simple.

In reality, he deserved an All-Star nod last season. For now, though, we can only focus on the present tense. LaVine deserves to be named to the All-Star roster. Of the twelve stars from the Eastern Conference who will be chosen, the Bulls’ guard should be among them.

Zach LaVine has dispelled the notion that he doesn’t play winning basketball doesn’t qualify anymore. He’s improved his defensive output, though that was a low bar. He’s improved his playmaking skills and he’s becoming virtually unguardable one-on-one. He just makes it look easy. He’s capable of offensive explosions at any point, as evidenced by his 11 30+ point games through 24 games. He has two 40+ point games, with two more 39 point outbursts.

All this to say, LaVine’s resume this season speaks for itself.

The Bulls’ guard has earned an NBA All-Star selection.

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