Luol Deng Gets All-Star Nod
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Feb 10, 2012 3:00PM
Bulls forward Luol Deng finally earned his first trip to the All-Star game yesterday, when he was named as a reserve for the Eastern Conference team. Despite slightly lower stats than in past seasons and missing seven games due to an injured wrist, Deng was selected by the league's coaches to play in the mid-season exhibition and will join Derrick Rose in Orlando when the league's top players take the court on Feb. 26.
Averaging 16 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists, Deng's scoring has been down this year yet he remains the team's second leading scorer and critical to the team's success. The Bulls hold an NBA-best 22-6 record, but three of the Bulls' six losses came during that seven game stretch that Deng sat out.
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said before Deng's selection was announced, "Lu's play speaks for itself. He plays great defense. He plays a great floor game. He moves without the ball. He makes the extra pass. You can't measure his impact statistically. I know what he brings. I know all the coaches and all his teammates appreciate everything that he does."
Fellow All-Star Rose also should be relieved that Deng will be joining him in Orlando. "I know that I'd probably be more hurt than Lu [if he doesn't make it]," the league's MVP said Wednesday night. "Knowing that he has a nonchalant attitude about making the team. But I think that he deserves it." We do, too. During his eight year career, he has performed at a level worthy of All-Star consideration. This year, he finally got the recognition for his contribution to the Bulls' success.