This is a very critical season for Chicago Bulls small forward Luol Deng. After the uneventful season he had with a major illness, he knows he has to be healthy to give the Bulls any chance at a championship.
Deng is a much under-appreciated player. Even though he is a two time all-star, he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. He’s a 6-foot-9 small forward, who will do all the little things to help the Bulls win. His trademark moves are slashing and cutting to the basket for easy layups. He can also knock down outside shots. His jumper is inconsistent, but when he’s in rhythm he can hit 3-pointers at a very high rate.
Coach Tom Thibodeau loves to use Deng as much as he can. Thibodeau gets a lot of heat for that as well. Critics and fans think he plays Deng way for too many minutes, but Deng loves it, as he is always among the league leaders in minutes played. Coach Thibs calls him his ultimate weapon. Deng fits what Thibodeau is all about: hard-nose defense and a team first guy. Deng never backs down from a challenge, and will defend two guards to power forwards.
So what was wrong with Deng last season? He had an up and down 2012-13 season. He made the all-star team for the second straight year, but his shooting percentage was still in the low 40s. Deng will have to get that percentage back up to respectable, and he will get a boost to help him out. Superstar point guard Derrick Rose will be back to take the pressure off Deng and help him get his jump shot back on track.
Deng was also dealing with a life threatening illness last season. His season ended in the playoffs when the Bulls thought he had flu like symptoms, but it was more serious than the flu. The illness Deng was dealing with had him hospitalized, and he underwent a spinal tap. He reportedly lost 15 pounds and was throwing up after the procedure.
Deng is now ready for the 2013-14 season. He’s in a good place, health wise, after that illness took him out. He will be playing for a contract extension, so we could be in store of Deng’s best season yet.