Season Review Part II: Luol Deng

Luol Deng has been the team's best player for two consecutive seasons now.  He led the team in PER at 18.79, which placed him 7th among starting SFs.  His PER jumped 3 points from 15.86 the previous year.  He also led the team in PW% at .836, raising it from .621, and Player Wins at 10.9.  The only SF to post a better PW% was Shawn Marion.  Marion and LeBron James were the only SFs to post more Player Wins at small forward.  Like Hinrich, Deng is solidly in the top ten at his position.  Even higher if defense is included as a greater part of the rating.  Like Gordon and Hinrich most of the improvement came from improved shooting with career highs in FG% and FT%.  His improved FG% came from two areas.  His jumpshot FG% went from 38% to 42%. And he doubled the amount of dunks he was getting from 4% of his shots to 8%, finishing with 90 for the year.

The big question with Deng is with his ceiling.  Will he be a really good player or will he be a great player?  He's likely going to be just really good.  His rebounding numbers have been steady all three seasons.  He's not going to start getting 8 FTA/G.  He's not going to become a volume shooter.  So he would have to be incredibly efficent.  So could Deng sustain the 54% FG shooting of the first two months over a full season?  Maybe because "the best mid-range shooter in the NBA" still has a lot holes in mid-range game.  Check out his hot zones.  He shot under 40% from everywhere on the left side of the court.  Alot also depends on how much time Deng spends in the post next season, and how effective he is there.  He will likely eventually raise his FT shooting above 80%.  His passing has been improving and it could improve more.  The one play that gives me hope that Deng could be great was a play from the Miami series late in a game.  He dribbled left across the FT line, pulled up, and knocked down the jumper from the FT line.  The replays show him rising above the defenders to get the shot off.  He created space and had the confidence to just go up and shoot over defenders.  If he's willing to do more of that or more of this then he can be great.

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