Tuesday afternoon, the NBA announced that Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid won Eastern Conference player of the month honors for December, beating out Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan and a slew of other candidates.
Zach LaVine's reaction?
LaVine's frustraton — and support for DeRozan — has ample merit. In eight December appearances, DeRozan averaged 29.3 points (sixth in the NBA), 5.6 assists and 4.3 rebounds, shooting 51.5 percent from the field, 62.5 percent (5-for-8) from 3-point range and 85.1 percent from the free-throw line. The Bulls sported a 9-2 record for the month, and an 8-0 record with DeRozan in the lineup, capped by a game-winning buzzer beater to sink the Pacers on New Year's Eve.
Embiid, meanwhile, averaged 29.2 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.3 blocks (49.6/39.1/84.5 percent shooting splits) in 13 appearances, leading the 76ers to an 8-5 record in those games.
DeRozan's case was likely hurt by his missing three games in health and safety protocols from Dec. 6 - 11, leaving him with five less appearances under his belt than Embiid by month's end.
But look at the bright side, Bulls fans: DeRozan, LaVine and the rest of the team can now add another chip to their collective shoulder. And, with a two-game cushion atop the Eastern Conference at 25-10, their sights are likely set higher than player of the month awards.