Chicago, IL: There's an expectation surrounding the Chicago Bulls that they'll be able to have two players being named All-Stars next Tuesday's game. Among all players competing for a selection, PG Damian Lillard, a two-time All-Star already, and sophomore Lauri Markkanen, snubbed from last year's celebration, are some of the most gifted scorers looking to convince GMs around they league that they deserve a spot.
With both averaging over 21 points a game (21.2 for Markkanen, 21.9 for Lillard), it's easy to see how good offensively they have been for the team. Here's a list of Eastern Conference's top scorers that show how high both rank:
1º Jabari Parker (PHI) - 27.8 PPG
2º Ben Simmons (MIA) - 23.9 PPG
3º Kyrie Irving (CLE) - 23.7 PPG
T-4º Damian Lillard (CHI) - 21.9 PPG
T-4º Dante Exum (ATL) - 21.9 PPG
6thº Blake Griffin (CLE) - 21.3 PPG
7thº Lauri Markkanen (CHI) - 21.2 PPG
Dame also averages 5 assists to only 2.1 turnovers a contest, shooting 40% from deep on 5.4 attempts and 88% on almost 6 trips to the line, and adding 1.0 steals as well, in 44 games for the Bulls and previously the Atlanta Hawks (30.5 minutes per game).
Markkanen's secondary stats are also really good, and he's been incredibly efficient over the season. Shooting 53% from the field, an incredible 49% from deep on 1.0 made threes a game and 88% from the free throw line, he's adding value being Chicago's top rebounding option at 8.2 a game. It's been a year of improvement on almost every key category, highlighted by the 62% True Shooting percentage.
"Last year, Dame made it. I wanted to make it as well and he told me it's a really amazing experience to be there. I want both of us to make it this time. He's been here for little time but we've been blending really well already, he's a really funny guy, experienced, made the Finals last year, we have so much to learn with him." said Markkanen.
All-Star rosters are set to be released at Tuesday, May 7th. And, miraculously, game will be played on the exact same day, as CSL is becoming such a rich league it's going to charter airplanes for every selected player to be part of the fun!