LOUGHBOROUGH, ENGLAND - JULY 01: Luol Deng of Team GB pictured during the Team GB kitting out event at Loughborough University on July 1, 2012 in Loughborough, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
With Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah out due to injury, Luol Deng is the only Bull currently playing in the 2012 London Olympics. Much has been made about Deng's decision to forego surgery on his injured wrist in order to play in these games, but the Bulls really couldn't do much about it other than make host Great Britain pay a ton of insurance money. And although I'm not necessarily a fan of his decision, I completely understand it.
Deng and Great Britain opened Olympic play against Russia, and promptly got smoked 95-75 by Andrei Kirilenko and company. In true Bulls fashion, Deng played nearly the entire game, only sitting out the last minute or so. Considering the general awfulness of this Great Britain squad, I would imagine Deng will be seeing those types of minutes every game before they're eliminated.
As for Deng's performance in those 39ish minutes, let's just say it wasn't too pretty. Sure he scored 26 points, but he went just 8-27 from the field and 2-11 from three. He was reportedly aggressive taking the ball to the basket and ended up taking 12 free throws (making eight), but there's no getting around the fact that those field goal percentages stink. I'll cut him some slack because of the wrist and the amount of attention he likely received from Kirilenko and the rest of the Russians, but still.
K.C. Johnson caught up with Deng after the game and got a few interesting quotes. It's quite humorous to see that even Deng himself pokes fun at how much he plays. He also gave the naturally political correct response to a question about his wrist and had a brief thought on the Bulls' offseason:
Deng: "The wrist is great. I’m not thinking about it." #Bulls— K.C Johnson (@KCJHoop) July 29, 2012
Deng, on Bulls' changes: "It’s hard to see those guys go because we were really close."— K.C Johnson (@KCJHoop) July 29, 2012
I'm of the belief that Deng should absolutely have surgery after the Olympics in order to fully heal the wrist, especially with the outlook of this upcoming season. Yes the Bulls could be really quite brutal to watch without both Rose and Deng for an extended period of time, but I'm not sure how not having the surgery helps much either. Perhaps the Bulls would win a few more games if he played, but what's really the point? He might as well just get it over with, but I'm not him or a doctor, so what do I know?
A few other minor notes from the weekend:
- The Bulls officially signed Nazr Mohammed. Terms were not announced, but the deal is expected to be for one year at the veteran's minimum. This is Mohammed's eighth NBA team.
- John Lucas III officially agreed to terms with the Raptors. Terms were not disclosed.