Apart from hearing that Derrick Rose had miraculously recovered, the next best news for the Chicago Bulls would be that Luol Deng will no longer undergo surgery on his wrist. And, according to a recent article, that's exactly what he's telling his team. Why could this announcement salvage the Bulls' season? Three reasons: his defensive game, his leadership on the court and his fan following.
After the close of the Olympics, Deng said the following:
"Did I look like I needed (surgery)? I'm fine right now. I feel great. There are a lot of things I want to improve in my game that I want to focus on now. I want to be a better player than I was last year."
"I have time to make decisions and be healthy by the time we start (training camp)."
Deng underwent surgery on his right wrist for a separate incident during his rookie season, and his doctor says this particular injury may be able to heal without surgery.
For Chicago fans, this is huge.
He led Great Britain during the Olympics, averaging 15.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists in five games.
Last season the small forward averaged 15.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.
Granted, Deng does not play Rose's position. Stat-wise, he will not replace the injured All-Star. However, he is a major role player for Chicago, and losing both him and Rose would be almost impossible to overcome.
Besides being a solid scorer, the 27-year-old exhibits defensive prowess on the floor. Deng is one of the best on-ball wing defenders, and he is a large reason Chicago tops the charts in defense night after night.
Numbers aside, he's an invaluable leader to his younger teammates. Deng's presence on the hardwood provides energy and consistency in every game. Not only does he lead his teammates, but Deng is a fan favorite.
Without Rose on the floor, fans are looking for someone to trust—Luol Deng is that man.