Deng rumored to be dealt at NBA draft
Chicago Bulls small forward Luol Deng is rumored to be traded at Tonight's NBA draft. During last season Deng tore ligaments in his left wrist and opted to play through the pain instead of having surgery and possibly missing the remainder of the season. The injury clearly bothered Deng, but he stayed on the court while only missing a few games.
Deng made it known that he wanted to play for London in the summer Olympics, which would put off surgery even longer and most likely prevent him from starting next season on time. Now Deng is telling people he may opt to wait and have surgery after the 2012-13 season.
As a Bulls fan, I think Deng is a solid player on both sides of the ball. He made his first all-star game last year. He logs tremendous minutes and works hard to be as good as he is. The only problem with his game is, he frequently disappears in certain games. While I feel he played great in games 4 and 5 against the Sixers this past postseason, he was nowhere to be found in games 2 and 3.
The Bulls need a guy to step up and take pressure off Derrick Rose. When Rose left game 1 against the Sixers with a torn ACL, I figured Deng and Boozer would do enough to lead the Bulls to a first round victory. When that didn't happen, you can only point fingers at the guys making the big money who failed to deliver in the clutch.
Even in last year's Eastern Conference Finals against the Heat, Deng went MIA when Rose had trouble scoring while being defended by LeBron James. Deng doesn't appear to be vocal on the court when it comes to getting his shot. He is more passive than aggressive, and I feel at times both coach Thibodeau and Rose lose confidence in him.
For those who haven't read my profile I am a huge North Carolina basketball fan, so hating Duke goes with the territory. The hardest thing for me has been rooting for guys like Boozer and Deng. However, I have done my best to forget Deng played for the Blue Devils. Boozer, on the other hand--I loathe his existence on this earth.
Last year when Deng missed a few games, rookie forward Jimmy Butler from Marquette played some valuable minutes for the Bulls. While his offensive game needs work, I felt his game defensively was as good as anyone on the team. In fact, one game against the Knicks at the garden, coach Thibodeau gave him the assignment of guarding so-called superstar Carmelo "coach killer" Anthony. There were at least 3 possessions when Melo (who seldom passes the ball) had no choice to pass due to the defense Butler played on him. It was eye-opening as a fan, especially considering how Melo had lit up Deng in other games.
Now the rumors are the Bulls will trade Deng to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for their 7th pick. Players available at that pick are likely to be Syracuse guard Dion Waiters and UConn Small forward Jeremy Lamb. If the Bulls were to make this deal, I wouldn't be upset if they drafted either guy. Both have tremendous upside according to most NBA scouts.
With Jimmy Butler, Waiters or Lamb, along with Rose and Noah (I omit Boozer on purpose), I still think the Bulls are in as good a position in the Eastern Conference should they decide to part ways with Deng. I would miss Deng, but I wouldn't be opposed to seeing if someone else can help Rose win a NBA championship.