In a game between the Bulls and Wizards that will see Zach LaVine and Bradley Beal butt heads — and in Chicago, no less — it was inevitable that February's All-Star game would be a point of discussion.
Wizards head coach Scott Brooks certainly saw it coming. He's always thinking a step ahead.
"I love Zach," Brooks said when pressed on the subject of LaVine's all-star case. "Tomorrow night, I'm gonna play someone in Toronto and I'm gonna say the same thing."
The Wizards face the Raptors and fellow all-star hopefuls Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry on Friday.
"I'm voting for you, Zach," Brooks finished — jokingly, of course.
But Brooks did offer some genuine insight into the thought process he'll employ in his voting. Coaches, remember, select each conference's seven reserves for the game after the fans (50 percent), media (25 percent) and players (25 percent) combine to choose the starters.
"I don't," Brooks said when asked if he subscribes to the belief that players on losing teams should be excluded from all-star consideration. "It plays a little bit of a role, but a lot of times players get put in situations that's not their fault. Whether it's injuries, the organization is in a rebuild or there's just many things.
"So I don't ever look at that, cause it's unfair. It's not the players' fault. Sometimes you get caught up in a situation that's not your fault. If you're one of the best 12 players in the conference, you should be voted in as one of the all-stars."
That sentiment will resonate with supporters of LaVine and Beal. The Bulls (14-27) and Wizards (13-26) are both well on the outside looking in of the Eastern Conference playoff standings, but both have put together compelling all-star cases — statistically speaking, anyway.
Brooks won't be able to vote for Beal, himself, but made his position on his candidacy known.
"Oh, no doubt," Brooks said when asked if Beal is an all-star in his own eyes. "Everybody knows."
And as for LaVine (in all seriousness)?
"I mean, Zach is right there. Zach is gonna be right there as being an all-star. He puts up all-star numbers," Brooks said. "He's definitely in the mix, I don't know where I'm going with it, but he's definitely in the mix."
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