Luol Deng is getting a valuable lesson before he free agency. When picking out a future destination, the culture of the team is awfully important. It also may be difficult to ascertain without actually being inside a locker room. A team can have A+ facilities and still have players that aren't exactly on the same page.
According to the NY Daily News, he told a close friend that the Cavs were a mess.
As Deng recently told one close friend, “the stuff going on in practice would never be tolerated by the coaching staff or the front office back in Chicago. It’s a mess."
It shows you what a winning culture the Bulls have developed, why the players/staff will never tank, and why the attitude of "we have enough to win" is always present. The Bulls hold players accountable for their actions and expect effort, hard work, and commitment.
Deng started off playing quite well for Cleveland, but his shooting has cooled off, and the impact of a lousy locker room may be getting to him.
I'd say the odds of Deng sticking in Cleveland at anything other than an outrageous salary seem pretty limited after Deng got a glimpse of their locker room. Ironically, bringing Deng in early to help "stabilize" the locker room may have ended their chances of signing him in the off-season.
A big money deal when he wouldn't be able to see how bad it was may have looked far more attractive than it does now. Odds are that Deng will give up a few million to go to a better situation. That said, there's still a lot to be said for being the high bidder. Locker room situations can change quickly for the better or worse.
Better late than never
Official congratulations to Joakim Noah on his second all-star selection. I meant to throw the note in Friday's article about Jimmy Butler, but my laptop battery gave me the five minute warning on the way in to work so I had to wrap things up.
Much like Deng, Noah doesn't scream all-star at you when you look at him. However, unlike Deng, he's playing a position which frequently makes the game through it's play on defense rather than offense.
A center's primary job is to play defense a wing player's primary job is to score. Noah's one of the best at his primary job while Deng really wasn't. There's also much less competition at the center position, especially this year.
There's no longer a requirement for a pure center which is why the East starters didn't have one voted in, but the coaches still wanted to put a few real big men on the roster, and Noah's easily one of the top two centers in the Eastern conference.
Joakim seems to be flirting with a triple double almost every night, recently racking up a bunch of games where he falls just a few assists shy. He's hitting 10/10/5 in virtually every game he plays and is back to being the difference maker we expect after a somewhat slow start to the season.
He's still amongst the best big men in the NBA on pick and roll defense and does a solid job contesting shots around the rim even though he has limited length. All in all, he deserved to make the game, and I'm proud to have him representing the Bulls on all-star weekend.
Couple minor side note
My apologies to my twitter followers, my work finally banned twitter from my phone (also banned from work internet), so I don't really have access to twitter almost at all anymore. Will probably get a personal cell at some point in the next six months at which point I'll be far more active again.
I just don't have access for 90% of the day anymore. Same is true for getting to my blog, facebook, and virtually everything else. It's a bit tougher to interact than it's been in a long time.