Chicago Bulls small forward Luol Deng, second from left, celebrates with Jimmy Butler, left, Taj Gibson, second from right, and Carlos Boozer their 76-74 come-from-behind win over the Atlanta Hawks after an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012, in Chicago.
As a Top 10 draft pick, much was expected of Luol Deng. Nearly every year, his name came up in trade talks. And every year, the Bulls backed away. Someone in the front office believed in him, and it seems that belief is finally paying off.
Deng just made the All-Star team. A pretty incredible feat, considering he's been injured for a month.
When you go to the United Center, you'll probably see more Michael Jordan jerseys than Luol Deng jerseys. And the sea of Derrick Rose jerseys swallows you whole. But just as Jordan needed Pippen to make a championship run, Deng is proving a capable Robin to Rose's Batman.
Only the very rare player combines a killer instinct with the skills to back it up. For years, the Bulls had skilled players (like Deng) but no one who could take the ball and put the team on his back. With Rose, the wait could be over. And a great player makes everyone else great too.
Perhaps with Rose in the lead, Deng is finally emerging as the player he was born to be - an All-Star.