Zach LaVine, Nikola Vučević draw All-NBA third team votes


Zach LaVine and Nikola Vučević's career years each garnered All-Star recognition in March 2021, but both fell short of All-NBA in end-of-season award voting.

LaVine drew one third team vote, finishing behind Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Donovan Mitchell, Devin Booker, Ben Simmons and Trae Young among guards that missed the cut. Vučević received two, finishing behind Bam Adebayo, Clint Capela, Domantas Sabonis and Anthony Davis in the center category.

Stephen Curry and Luka Dončić made up the first-team backcourt, Damian Lillard and Chris Paul the second, and Bradley Beal and Kyrie Irving the third. Nikola Jokić, Joel Embiid and Rudy Gobert were the three All-NBA centers.

LaVine finished his seventh NBA season with averages of 27.4 points, 5 rebounds and 4.9 assists, all career-highs. So, too, were his field goal percentage of 50.7 and 3-point percentage of 41.9. He fell six assists and one free throw short of joining Curry (three times) and Larry Bird as the only players to average 27-5-5 on 50/40/85 shooting splits in a season.

Vučević, meanwhile, posted the best scoring average of his career at 23.9 points along with 11.7 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. On the highest volume of 3-point attempts in his career, he cleared 40 percent from behind the arc. In 26 games with the Bulls after being acquired at the trade deadline, he averaged 21.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists, shooting 38.8 percent from distance.

Earning All-NBA honors would have made LaVine eligible for a designated veteran extension, colloquially known as the "supermax," this offseason. Such an extension could have started with a first-year salary of 35 percent of the salary cap in 2022-23, higher than the 30 percent max he will eventually be able to sign if he reaches unrestricted free agency when his current contract expires in 2022.


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For part of the season, LaVine was firmly in the conversation. But the Bulls' underwhelming 31-41 finish, which left them out of the play-in, an 11-game absence during the stretch run after a positive COVID-19 test, and an uber-deep guard pool likely did him in with the voters.

Now, Bulls fans can hope their All-Star tandem uses these results as bulletin-board material for a pivotal 2021-22 campaign.

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