Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine would love to showcase their skills before the home crowd when the All-Star Game returns to Chicago this season for the first time since Michael Jordan stole the spotlight in 1988.
It would mean the Bulls' promising young stars have taken their games to a higher level. And that would likely mean the team is starting to win again.
"Everything comes with winning," said Markkanen, entering his third season. "We haven't been to the playoffs, haven't won at home a lot of games. I know that's one thing that I know (ticks) both of us off. We want to get to that winning record first. Obviously, that comes from us playing well and the whole team playing well."
Winning a championship for the first time since Jordan and Scottie Pippen led a pair of three-peats in the 1990s would be a massive stretch. But the Bulls believe an Eastern Conference playoff spot is in reach for the first time since an opening-round exit in 2017.
"If we're in that position where we're winning and we're playing the right way, we can make the playoffs," said LaVine, who averaged a career-high 23.7 points last season. "I don't think we have to validate to anybody. I know how we play on the court. I know, to be realistic, we're the main scouting report on the other team. I draw double-teams, he draws double-teams. I don't think it's as much validation; it's just goals you have for yourself and your team."
The Bulls open the season at Charlotte on Oct. 23.