After a year or two in the wilderness, Luol finally got his wits about him in 2009-10, averaging 17.6 points and 7.3 rebounds alongside his typically sound defense. Deng also chipped in about a steal and block per game, and this is important: Luol came in at under two turnovers a game for the sixth time in a six year career. I understand that his mid-range, rarely-dribbling game doesn't see him taking many chances, but to be able to field a solid-scoring forward for nearly 38 minutes a game and see him turn it over just 1.9 times per? Good stuff.
It's funny, so many Bulls fans have derided Deng for what he can't do. That's what a massive contract will do for you though. In the salary cap era, fans look at a player and decide how good he is based on what he makes, and when teams make decisions based on the salary cap, that's the most logical way to look at it.
Still, money aside, if someone told me in a vacuum that Deng is a top eight SF in the NBA, my first reaction would be "No way!", however, looking over the list of the top 11, I can't say I'm really taking anyone behind him next except possibly Rudy Gay.
Hell honesty, he's probably closer to Gerald Wallace and Andre Igudoala than the guys behind him are closer to him. So while we may look at Luol Deng's contract and think "this guy is overpaid", let's not forget that he's also a pretty darn good basketball player who rarely screws up on offense (low turnovers) and rarely screws up on defense (very fundamentally sound).
He chips in plenty of scoring without needing the ball in his hands all the time, makes smart basketball plays, rebounds well, and even gives you some blocks and steals. I think the worst thing Deng ever did in regards to his rating to Bulls fans is take a 30% deferred salary deal. Take the same present value money and stick it in a present value cap contract where he's making about two million a year less, and we wouldn't spend so much time complaining about his salary.
The only real downsides to Deng are a lack of health and a lack of volume in terms of three point attempts last season. If Deng can improve his three point shooting enough to maintain a 35% while shooting three or so a game, then he becomes a near perfect fit for our roster. Even without the three point shooting he's awfully good.
So let's take a few moments out of our ripping on his contract and injury history to appreciate the good things Luol can do for this team.