A few things to consider:
- Luol Deng is only 25 years old and this is already his 7th season.
- Three years ago, he was nearly traded for Kobe Bryant (possibly the third best player of all time).
- He's become the best all around defender on the Bulls and arguably one of the best defensive SF's in the NBA.
Deng went 14/19 for 40 points and also locked down All-Star Brandon Roy (4-12, 17 points). He hit outside shots, drove to the basket and opened up the court for Rose. He's doing all the things Melo would do, minus the god complex.
When Boozer gets healthy, the Bulls will have a top 5 PG who can shoot and slash, a top 5 low post scorer who can hit shots and finish at the rim and a top 5 center who hits the boards and is a defensive monster. Pair those 3 up with Deng, who can be the glue (rather than a guy who needs the ball like Mel0) and it just makes everyone better. Not necessarily on paper, but in chemistry and in wins, which is all that matters.
Deng might be the Horace Grant or the Lamar Odom of this team: he'll do whatever needs to get done in order to win. He has the swiss-army knife of tools to contribute anything on any given night. I think that makes him more valuable than Melo for this stacked Bulls team, despite the gap in talent.
The Bulls look great through 3 games (2-1 with a tough loss to the Durants). I'm loving Thibodeau's defense and chemistry. Loving the improvement from Rose/Noah and can't wait for Boozer to hit the court. Deng might just be the missing piece that nobody is talking about...