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Grading the Bulls: Luol Deng

A look at the performances of the 2011-2012 roster

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Luol deng was rewarded for his strong play on both sides of the ball by being named an All-Star for the first time in his career during the 2011-2012 season

    Luol Deng has had better seasons in a Chicago Bulls uniform. His 15.3 points per game scoring average during the 2011-2012 campaign is the third lowest of his career when he's played 50 or more games in a season.

    Still, over the past two years, Deng has been a model of consistency and under the tutelage of Tom Thibodeau, his game has blossomed noticably. He was named an All-Star for the first time in his career in 2012 and his strong play has been one of the main reasons the Bulls have been viewed as a legitimate title contender.

    Deng's defense on the perimeter and vast improvement in his outside shooting have helped propel Chicago into the NBA's elite class as a result of winning the most games and finishing with the best record in the league two years in a row.

    Individually, his best regular season outing came in mid-January in a road win against the Boston Celtics. Deng put up 21 points and 16 rebounds in that contest. And facing elimination in Game 6 against Philadelphia, Luol played his best game in the Playoffs scoring 19 points and grabbing 17 rebounds despite being hit in the left eye by an errant Andre Iguodala elbow and causing a nasty cut that required two stitches, mid-game.

    Luol Deng has always been a model of both mental and physical toughness, but injuries have still been bothersome for the eight year veteran. He's played a full 82-game season only twice in his career, the most recent being last season, the first time he'd done so in three years.

    His latest, most serious injury came on January 21st in a game against the Charlotte Bobcats when he tore a ligament in his left wrist. He would miss the Bulls next seven games as a result. All told, Deng missed 12 of the Bulls 66 games this season due to injury, good for third most on the team behind Rip Hamilton (38), Derrick Rose (27) and C.J. Watson (17).

    Deng's wrist is still a concern as it's possible he still needs surgery to repair it, but nevertheless, he has opted to play for his adopted home country in Great Britain during the Olympics, a decision that has caused quite a stir for both the Bulls and Team Britain.

    Regardless, Deng will be relied on heavily once again as the Bulls start the 2012-2013 season without their best player, and Bulls fans can always count on Deng to give his best effort on a nightly basis.

    Grade: A