Deng to be ready for the preseason

In a recent CNN interview, Luol Deng talked about what’s on his iPod (“Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Jay Z and Andre 3000. So basically hip-hop.”), his favorite food (“I like Sudanese food, I like Egyptian Food, I like Italian food…I’m very open.”), and the basketball player who most inspires him (“I’m a big fan of Grant Hill.” I know. Insert injury joke here, right?).

Most importantly, though, Deng said he should be ready to return to the Bulls by the preseason. Said Deng: “I feel like the team has given me a lot and I want to give that back. The way I treat pressure is I always work hard and try and show that I’m deserving of it. The beauty of it is that I have another season to go out there and prove myself and love the game I play.”

And wouldn’t the Bulls and their fans love for Deng to do just that? With Ben Gordon launching jumpers in Detroit this season, it’s critical for Deng to be healthy and live up to his potential. And I probably don’t need to remind you that, last summer, the team believed Deng had $78 million worth of potential.

Deng has been on my mind lately because if for some reason he’s not ready to begin the season, or if he gets hurt again, Vinny Del Negro will probably have to move John Salmons back to small forward. That would (I’m guessing) make Kirk Hinrich the starting shooting guard and force Jannero Pargo to backup the one and two spots. So minus a healthy Deng, our frontcourt and backcourt depth will be compromised. No pressure, though.

Deng also discussed what it was like to watch last season’s Bulls-Celtics playoff series from the sidelines: “Being out there and not playing, it was still a proud moment and a proud series — but I can’t tell you how tough it is to watch one of the best series in history go on and to be in the roster but not be able to play. So that was tough but as a team I think it will help us go forward in the new season.”

Oh, and apparently Deng wants to jump right back into the thick of things by taking on guys like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. “Both are great scorers, both are great leaders. I think Kobe has been there longer and LeBron is getting there faster than anyone — but to have both of them in the same league it just makes you want to step up your own game.” Wow. Isn’t that kind of like an injured runner coming back and immediately running a marathon?

Here’s Deng on CNN’s “The Lowdown.”

12 Responses to Deng to be ready for the preseason

    Jay September 8, 2009 at 11:48 am #

    He’s a fan of Grant Hill. Um yeah…..
    And I think you meant Andre 3000.

    Matt McHale September 8, 2009 at 1:04 pm #

    Jay — Yeah, I did a cut and paste on that quote. So blame CNN for the misatribution…and me for not catching it.

    Jack September 8, 2009 at 1:09 pm #

    Ever think that just maybe it’s Deng who got the name wrong?

    Brad S. September 8, 2009 at 3:34 pm #

    Well, not exactly cutting edge journalism from CNN, but I suppose that is not exactly the point. I did like Luol’s answer to that last question. I was wondering if he was going to answer with the dismissive: “Naw, I don’t feel any more pressure than normal.” (Which is pretty offensive to the owner and ticket holders) or the honest: “Yes, I get paid bucket-loads of money and have not been worth it.”

    His actual answer was more thought-out than I could have hoped for. It shows a level of introspection and soul-searching that often times does not seem to be present in NBA players. At best, it gives me hope that he will be what we all thought he could be 2 years ago. At worst, it was a refreshing thing to hear.

  5. Andre September 8, 2009 at 8:22 pm #

    i know that this is not the proper fourm for this, but i don’t feel like paying espn bullshit insider price to be able to blog there! hopefully i can catch someone attention here, I have a huge beef with espn they go after these athletes who tested postive for P.E.D.s and anyone close to those guys, but if you watch sports reporters on espn mike lupica that little prick whines how these guys used steroids but he’ll cash in millions on his book about the Mcgwire sosa home run chase, now espn after they have continued this tmz steriod chase and bashing these athletes, they no have just added teddy bruschi to the nfl countdown crew, this is a guy that suffered a sudden heart attack when he was 32 or something and hasn’t suffered any further complications, because when he went and met with doctors they told his ass to get off the juice. none of that has been said publically but come on, maybe teddy has gone stupid from juice abuse but we the people havn’t. i don’t care that they hired him, but if your gonna make moves like that then stop harpin on steriods and your save the children bitching.

    twalter September 9, 2009 at 3:17 am #

    CNN needs to stop the basketball coverage. Their dissections of Obama’s pick up games were awful. – Latest NBA Rumors

    mike killer September 9, 2009 at 3:49 am #

    I don’t care what he likes and what he does. All I hope is that he can play at a higher level like an All Star! if not good bye Deng.

    cilantromOnkay September 10, 2009 at 3:05 pm #

    if deng is such a hard worker its so ironic that he is considered a bust.

    weird thing to me. usually they just dont work hard.

    boppinbob September 10, 2009 at 9:05 pm #

    cilantromOnkay, uninformed people may call him a bust, but he has tried to play through injuries the last two seasons. This season could give the fans a better incite into Deng’s future usefulness to the Bulls, if he can stay healthy.

    felipe garcia September 11, 2009 at 3:01 am #

    Yup, u said it best boppinbob, ‘if he can stay healthy.’ I just hope that Deng can still show us he is worth every penny he is making off his big contract and his value to the team. If Deng has another disappointed season, the Bulls need to make a trade for Rudy Gay to replace his presents.


  1. Not Qualified To Comment » Qualified Links - September 8, 2009

    […] Luol Deng will be ready for the preseason.  Oh and he likes rap and eats Egyptian food.  It’s all in his interview with CNN. [By The Horns] […]

  2. Deng wants the 2016 Olympics in Chicago » By The Horns - September 9, 2009

    […] about Luol Deng: his interviewing skills haven’t atrophied during his long layoff. First he talked to CNN about a variety of topics, then he spoke with Billy Dec of ChicagoNow about the Chicago 2016 […]

Designed by Anthony Bain