Luol Deng named to 2012 All-Star team

Update: From Luol's Twitter: "Words can't describe how happy I am to make my first all star. Thanks to all my supporters especially the coaches who voted for me. "

Official release:

Bulls small forward Luol Deng will join teammate Derrick Rose in Orlando for the 2012 NBA All-Star Game after being named as an Eastern Conference All-Star reserve.

The announcement was made Thursday night on TNT.

In 21 games this season, Deng has posted averages of 16.0 points, a career-high 7.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.2 steals in a team-high 38.0 minutes per game.

When a left wrist injury recently sidelined him for seven games, it showed, as the Bulls went 4-3. With Deng in the lineup, Chicago is 18-3 on the season.

Deng earning All-Star status marks the first time two Bulls landed on the team since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen did so in 1997.

Deng was unavailable for comment Thursday night, but will meet the media at the Bulls’ shootaround in Charlotte on Friday morning.

This is awesome news, very cool for Luol to get this recognition. Is it based on his team's success? I suppose, the Bulls have been amongst the league's best teams all season, so it stood to reason that they'd get a second All-Star selection. But whatever Deng's shortcomings may be statistically, it's not 'intangibles' that puts him over the top as much as it is his defense, and he's the star of that unit on the Bulls. Plus, he seems to be a better version of such attendees as others in the past (Mo Williams, for example).

He probably shouldn't play in the game given his injury. But, he's playing with pain regardless, is probably really psyched to go and have his career validated a bit, and playing against New Orleans and Charlotte this week is just as much of an 'exhibition' as this will be. It's sentimental and short-sighted...but I hope he plays. The big question is can Thibodeau get him to 40 minutes coming off the bench?

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