Polling Place: Is Bulls’ Zach LaVine an All-Star? Is Blackhawks’ Kevin Lankinen the man?

LaVine has upped his scoring by a few points a night and now ranks in the top five in the league. The rest of his game is shaky — the forced passes, the matador defense — but did we mention he’s one of the top five scorers in the league?

SHARE Polling Place: Is Bulls’ Zach LaVine an All-Star? Is Blackhawks’ Kevin Lankinen the man?
New York Knicks v Chicago Bulls

LaVine can dunk — does that make him an All-Star?

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Zach LaVine was denied a shot to represent the Bulls in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game at the United Center. It was a bummer for a guy who poured in about 25 points per game for the season, but was a travesty of justice? An outrage? Just plain wrong?

No, of course not.

But LaVine keeps ascending. He has upped his scoring by a few points a night and now ranks in the top five in the league. The rest of his game is shaky — the forced passes, the matador defense — but did we mention he’s one of the top five scorers in the league?

In this week’s “Polling Place” — your home for Sun-Times sports polls on Twitter — we asked if LaVine should be on the East squad when the All-Stars gather in Atlanta in early March. We also asked respondents to weigh in on Blackhawks goalie Kevin Lankinen, White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton and Cubs outfielder Joc Pederson.

On to the polls:

Poll No. 1: Does Bulls guard Zach LaVine deserve to be an All-Star this season?

Upshot: If LaVine were on a better team, he’d probably have a somewhat smaller role to go with it. On the Bulls, though, he’s the clear top dog. “Don’t penalize the man just because the rest of his team stinks,” @ChiTownSports commented. LaVine seemingly has an excellent chance as he tries to hang in there for a backcourt spot with Bradley Beal, Kyrie Irving, James Harden and others.

Poll No. 2: Are you buying Kevin Lankinen as the Blackhawks’ goalie of the future?

Upshot: Lankinen let in six goals in his last game, but he has been truly outstanding on the whole. Not bad for someone who was pretty clearly third on the depth chart heading into the season. “Still need to see him over the course of an entire season,” cautioned @SoldierFieldBlg, “but the early signs are a resounding yes.” And who doesn’t like their “yeses” resounding?

Poll No. 3: Which free-agent outfielder will perform better in 2021, the White Sox’ Adam Eaton or the Cubs’ Joc Pederson?

Upshot: “How will it be decided?” wondered @SoxFan20052020. “wRC+? WAR?” Sure. And also hitting the ball, catching the ball and being good at baseball. Look, does everything need to be boiled down to analytics these days? Let’s just watch ’em play. One has to figure the answer to “who was better?” won’t be all that difficult to suss out in the end.

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