Will DeRozan, LaVine both be all-star starters for the Bulls?

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan, right, smiles as he talks with guard Zach LaVine during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks in Chicago, Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021. The Bulls won 131-117.

    Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan, right, smiles as he talks with guard Zach LaVine during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks in Chicago, Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021. The Bulls won 131-117. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 1/26/2022 7:30 PM

When DeMar DeRozan accepts his starting spot for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game, he'll have to be sure and thank whoever it was at the league office who decided to categorize him as a guard instead of a frontcourt player.

DeRozan has essentially started at small forward for the Bulls all season, but he led the East guards by a wide margin when the third voting returns were released.

 

DeRozan had 4.1 million votes, Atlanta's Trae Young had 2.1 million and Bulls teammate Zach LaVine was a close third with 1.99 million. The starters and team captains will officially be revealed Thursday on TNT.

The three leaders in the East frontcourt were Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid, but Durant is out with a knee sprain and will likely need a replacement. Boston's Jayson Tatum, who ranked fourth, could be the leading candidate.

Once again, the NBA will make the top vote-getters in each conference captains and they'll pick the teams. That was trending toward Durant and LeBron James in the last returns.

DeRozan has been an all-star starter twice before and has played in the game four times. His last appearance in 2018 was in his hometown of Los Angeles and he shared the scoring lead on "Team Steph" with Damian Lillard with 21 points.

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While playing for the Raptors, DeRozan scored 16 points at the 2016 All-Star Game in Toronto. LaVine made his first all-star appearance last year.

DeRozan took a day of rest Monday in Oklahoma City and Bulls coach Billy Donovan praised his honesty.

"I give DeMar credit, I think he felt tired, he felt worn out," Donovan said. "I think if I would have said, 'DeMar, we need you,' he probably would have gone out there. But he's such a competitive guy, he's a guy that loves to play, so I think when a player's telling how he feels like that and knows he probably can't be at the level he wants to be, I just told him, 'You need to take the night off.'"

Jones breaks finger:

With all the Bulls injury news this season, the latest update was unexpected. Derrick Jones Jr. suffered a broken right index finger during a workout at the Advocate Center on Tuesday.

Jones was already recovering from a right knee hyperextension that happened 34 seconds into the Brooklyn game on Jan. 12.

"It was really an unfortunate thing," coach Billy Donovan said before Wednesday's game. "He was really progressing well with his knee and just kind of a fluke thing. There was no contact, no nothing. We were just kind of doing some 5-on-0 script and he was running and catching and the ball came to him and caught him wrong."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

In the official injury report, the Bulls said Jones will be out 6-8 weeks, but there might be a chance of returning sooner.

"He's got to keep it splinted, there's no surgery or anything else like that right now," Donovan said. "The healing process is obviously going to be quite some time, but there is a possibility a week or two from now, to be reevaluated on whether or not he could play with a splint, but I don't know how hard that would be for him."

Lonzo on schedule:

Coach Billy Donovan said Lonzo Ball's arthroscopic knee surgery will take place Friday morning. He's expected to miss 6-8 weeks from that date. ... Rockford native Fred VanVleet did not play for the Raptors on Wednesday due to a sore knee.

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