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Thread: Luol Deng: Most Underrated Player in the League?

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    Default Luol Deng: Most Underrated Player in the League?

    I don't think he's ever won an award for anything. I've never seen him on anyone's "Top _____" lists. Never referred to as a future star. And yet here he is, a month shy of his 22nd birthday, averaging 19 points and 7 rebounds per game while being one of the best defensive swingmen in the game. Thanks to him, I can't remember the last time Paul Pierce had a good game against the Bulls (in fact, I'd trade Pierce for him, straight-up). 6'9 with a 7'-plus wingspan, no one shoots over him with ease. He's like Tayshaun Prince with muscle. A very intelligent, disciplined player, he is shooting 52% from the field and has only attempted 4 threes for the entire season. How many perimeter players show that level of restraint? And at the age of 21? Ben Gordon gets the most credit of all the Baby Bulls with Hinrich not far behind, but if I could choose any player off of that team it'd be Deng without a second thought. Players like Deng make the ROY race meaningless because they could be rookies right now if they wanted to and would then win the award easily. As much as we Celtic fans love to boost up Gerald Green, or Warrior fans like Monta Ellis, JR Smith, etc., none of us have any kind of assurance that they'll ever be better than Deng, who is only behind Anthony and James among the best young swingmen in the game. Yet he gets little praise. Why?

  2. #2
    Senior Member karim's Avatar
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    hey man im a bulls fan and i like this player alot but i dt think hes anywhere close to James or Carter or any1 like this.....hes not muscular at all like u say he is and he cant penentrate or shoot 3s that good especially shooting the 3...hes a good defender , can shoot the 2pt field goal very well and penentrates at times not always but i dt think hes 1 of the best wingmen in the NBA .

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    Senior Member HIGHLANDER's Avatar
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    Slightly off the topic but he declared himself British and played for the UK team.

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    Administrator mvblair's Avatar
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    Not sure where to put this article, but this seemed like a good spot.

    Here is a great article about Luol Deng's journey. Many people have heard about his roots in Sudan, but this article includes some great pictures and audio stories. It's worth listening to. Check the link for the full article and the audio.

    British Bull -- By Leon Mann, BBC Sports, May 13, 2011

    ...from the outset of our interview [Luol Deng] says no areas are off limits.

    Deng had some journey to NBA stardom with the Chicago Bulls. He was born in Sudan, raised in Egypt and then South Norwood in London as a refugee, before coming to the United States at the age of 14.

    Michael Jordan, the greatest player the game has ever seen, told me recently that Deng is the "deciding factor" in whether the Bulls win an NBA championship.

    ...

    Deng's coach, Tom Thibodeau, describes his captain as "the glue of our team."

    He is big news in the US. His fans include President Barrack Obama, who says the Londoner is his favourite player, and I'm told that Oprah Winfrey is desperate to get Deng on her show.

    But the Bulls number nine grins as he tells me that when he is back in London very few people recognize him. "I'm just a tall guy walking down the street. I like it.

    The 25-year-old is well paid for his abilities. In 2008 he signed a six-year contract worth $71 million at the Bulls.

    "If anyone tells you it doesn't change anything - they're lying. It changes a lot of things," he says.

    "I don't think it changes who you are inside. But when you have a lot of money it makes a lot of things easier. That's why everyone wants to be successful. You love what you do but you want recognition. You also want to be able to support your family and be able to have an easier life. That's really what success does.

    "It doesn't change who I am to my friends and family - it's doesn't change that - but it definitely changes the struggles that you went through that money can help with. There's definitely a comfort level where you are satisfied that you're taking care of your family."

    ...They [Deng's siblings and family] are proud of Luol but have their own lives studying or working in the States. It's American accents all around. When I ask Luol about his own Chicagoan twang he explains why he lost the British accent.

    "I lost it 'cause I'm originally from Sudan so when I call home to speak to my parents or family I don't speak English. So a lot of times I'm not hearing it as much as I want to. But I probably lost it, like, the first year," he begins to laugh.

    "I remember the first year I went over to New Jersey and my accent was totally different. They made fun of me and all that. At the time as a kid you really didn't want to be made fun of. So I didn't really try hard enough to try and keep my accent I just went with it and I lost it very fast."

    But while the accent may not be very British anymore his passion for the game back home clearly highlights his allegiance. If we even needed him to. As the focal point of Great Britain's basketball team he believes they can cause some "surprises" at London 2012.

    ...Can they really make it to the podium?

    "I don't know that. I really don't know that. But I do know that every game we go into we are going to try and win," Deng says with a look of conviction.

    "I don't think we are going to the Olympics, just to be in the Olympics. I don't think any of us have that in mind. We're going to try and compete with every team. We know it's our first Olympics and other teams have been together longer than us but we're going to compete.

    "We're going to be in games. It's not going to be easy for opponents. They're not going to look at Team GB and just circle that game as a win."

    Up until this point the interview had been going well. Then I ask what Deng would choose if he had a choice of an NBA championship ring with the Bulls or a Gold medal with Team GB. I cower into my chair as the 6ft 8in mild-mannered Deng turns on me.

    "This is one of those questions like asking if you have two brothers which is your favourite?

    "You can't really answer that. For me right now my focus each year is to win an NBA championship. If we're playing for both things at a different time then that's a different answer.

    "Right now the Championships is the ultimate goal, but when the Olympics starts that's my next goal."

    Deng is still smiling so I breathe a sense of relief. It's never a good look to upset your interviewee when you've flown across the world to see them. But it isn't long before he exacts some revenge for putting him on the spot like that.

    As a creative way of raising funds for his charity, the Luol Deng Foundation , he's organized an event where fans can come and take him on at his favourite computer [soccer] games...

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    Senior Member CKR13's Avatar
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    Yes, Deng is very underrated. Deng was a crucial factor on why the Bulls had the best record in the East last season.
    Sacramento Kings
    HERE WE STAY UNTIL THE COWBELLS COME HOME

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