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Sports Saturday

Bulls coach Billy Donovan hoping Zach LaVine gets enough eyes on him

With LaVine’s all-star fortunes now up to the coaches, the concern from Donovan is just how many opposing staffs have seen this latest version of LaVine. That’s usually not a concern, but this season’s scheduling has been like none other because of the coronavirus.

Thad Young was there when Zach LaVine scored his first NBA points as a rookie with the Timberwolves in 2014.

Now they’re teammates again with the Bulls, and it would mean even more for Young to be there if LaVine is named an All-Star for the first time.

“I mean, Zach has been amazing all season long,” Young said. “The list goes on of how many things he does for this team. He’s definitely an All-Star. He’s playing at a super-high level.

“I love Zach to death. He was my rookie in Minnesota. I know that he’s capable of whatever he puts his mind to, and he’s going to come to work each and every day . . . making sure that he puts us in the best position each and every night.’’

LaVine’s All-Star bid is tricky, coach Billy Donovan said. Media voting for Eastern Conference guards had him fifth, the fans voted him fourth and the players voted him third. That puts him on the outside looking in for a reserve spot, which will come down to the coaches’ vote. In a normal season, most NBA coaches would have seen LaVine in person by now, but because of the scheduling adjustments to try to combat the coronavirus, that hasn’t been the case.

“I would think from an opposing coach, with the way he’s played, that he’s one of the more difficult guys to match up with because of his ability to drive, to shoot, to make mid-range shots, and obviously get out in transition,” Donovan said.

“[But] we haven’t played against Brooklyn. We weren’t even supposed to play Detroit on this trip, so there’s teams we haven’t played. It’s really, really hard for me, unless I see them in a scouting game, to really formulate fair opinions of players in a lot of ways. And I think that’s probably the same sentiment for a lot of other coaches with as hard as this season has been and the way the schedule is so different.”

Hutchison’s call

Forward Chandler Hutchison, who has been sitting out games for undisclosed personal reasons, continues to practice with the Bulls and stay in game shape. It’s up to him when he’ll return to action.

“I didn’t really ask him when he was going to come back,” Donovan said of a recent conversation he had with Hutchison. “I more talked to him about how he was doing. He felt like he was making progress and getting better, the things he wanted to work on. . . . It’s a process for him, and everybody’s been really supportive.’’