Sunday, February 12, 2012

Luol Deng is His Favorite Player?

Luol Deng?

C asked me the other day to name his favorite basketball players.  I started with the usuals, Paul Pierce, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki.  And then he looked at me like I had two heads.  You don't know who my FAVORITE player is, he asked?

C's favorite player..seriously
Give me a hint, I told him.  And I finally got it when he said his first name started with an L.  Luol Deng is his favorite basketball player.  Seriously, the starting small forward for the Chicago Bulls, a graduate of Duke University is his favorite player?  Why isn't KG or Rajon Rondo his favorite player?  Larry Bird or Reggie Lewis?  So I asked him why he was his favorite player.

1.  He is on my second favorite team, the Chicago Bulls.  I'm cringing at the thought that his favorite team is someone like the Lakers or the Heat?  I let the question go unanswered and just assumed his favorite team is the Celtics.

Looking at the objectively, the Bulls are scorching the league again this year.  While everyone is talking about the Thunder, Heat and the Clippers, the Bulls have quietly put together the best record in the league.  I guess C is just a front runner.  We'll see if the Bulls can take the Celtics with a hurt Derrick Rose this afternoon at the Garden.  It will have to be the Boozer and Deng show this afternoon.

2.  I like him because he can make deep 2s just like me.  An interesting point.  Not that he's a great 3 point shooter, but that he's great at deep 2s.  That's similar to saying Jacoby Ellsbury is a great triples threat.  But let's look at the numbers.

Interestingly, Deng is shooting only 43.7% this year and 37.9% from beyond the arc.  Kyle Korver is wiping the floor with Deng's brick this year.  What's interesting is that Deng never took more than 117 three pointers in his career until the 2010-11 season when he took a startling 333 attempts, making only 34.5% of them.  Maybe he should stick to the "Deep 2s."

Further, Deng's PER is only 16.3, which IS higher than his career PER of 16.2, but still outside the top 50 in Player Efficiency.  Not bad, and I would love him over Ray Allen, but still not the material of "favorite player" status.

3.  He is also good at rebounding.  This was an after thought for C, and looking at the statistics, the same holds true for Deng.  While his total rebound figures are almost a full rebound better this year than his career, and his defensive rebounding average is the highest of his career, his average is still only 7.1 per game.  I suppose we can say that his rebounding is good for a small forward or guard.

At the end of the day, Deng is a decent player, akin to Ray Allen or Rudy Gay.  And at least my choices are UConn guys.  That being said, C will be getting a Deng jersey for his birthday and I'm looking for tickets to this afternoon's game to take him to. 

Deng is his favorite player, after all.

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