Young insists Bulls' LaVine should be an all-star
Fan voting ended on Monday, but Bulls forward Thaddeus Young went out of his way Tuesday to plug teammate Zach LaVine for an all-star selection.
"It should be said and done already," Young said after practice at the Advocate Center. "That guy's been putting on a show for the past couple months, been doing his thing. He's been incredible. So Zach LaVine for all-star. I'm saying it here and now, let's make sure we get this done. Everybody go do what you got to do."
The all-star starters will be announced Thursday on TNT. The fan vote now counts for 50 percent, with player and media voting making up the other half. All-star reserves, which are selected solely by head coaches in each conference, will be revealed on TNT the following week on Jan. 30.
LaVine is averaging 30.0 points per game in January, which is tied for sixth-best in the league. The NBA All-Star Game will be played in Chicago for the first time since 1988, but the Bulls' 16-29 record will be tough for LaVine to overcome. Even if a player from a losing team is selected in the East, it might be Atlanta's Trae Young, who ranks higher among the scoring leaders than LaVine.
"He's done more than enough, he's more than capable," said Young, who played for Minnesota during LaVine's rookie season with the Timberwolves. "He's shown time and time again and he's been great for us all season long, he's been incredible for us. He's been amazing."
Kornet starting to play:
One positive development for the Bulls lately has been the performance of Luke Kornet as the team's starting center. Kornet was pressed into duty for the last three games while both Wendell Carter Jr. (ankle) and Daniel Gafford (thumb) are injured.
Early in the season, Kornet wasn't very good and dropped out of the rotation after having sinus surgery. But he looks like a different player now, able to move his feet defensively and knock down some 3-point shots. He didn't play much in Milwaukee because of foul trouble, but finished with the best plus-minus among the starters.
Coach Jim Boylen compared Kornet to former Houston Rockets big man Robert Horry, which is a stretch, but he meant the two players have similar styles.
"Robert Horry was one of the first guys that could rim protect at a high level and make 3s and guard multi-positions," Boylen said. "That's why we wanted him here. He had some bad breaks in September and October and November, and he's worked his way through it and he's helping us play real competitive basketball."
Porter takes court:
Otto Porter, out since Nov. 6 with a broken foot, was on the floor after Tuesday's practice without the walking boot he wore for a couple of months. He's done work on the elliptical machine, but hasn't started running, so his return to action is still distant.
"It'd be wrong of me to give you a timetable on that," Boylen said. "He's improving and what we're hoping for is as he gets his shoes back on and gets on the floor, those juices start flowing and hopefully he can be back sooner rather than later. We're excited about his progress."