Luol Deng Interview
Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng is averaging 13.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Last season as a rookie he started at small forward. This season, playing about the same minutes, he's coming off the bench and producing just as effectively. AT 7-6, the Bulls are off to a solid start. Wednesday night in New York, InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner met with Deng for an exclusive interview.
InsideHoops.com: You guys continue to be a team that relies on lots of guys to contribute. Talk about how things are going so far.
Luol Deng: It's a brand new team, and it takes a while to adjust to a team. Last year, adjusting was tough; we started 0-9. This year we're still adjusting... the last four games, we just seemed to find a way to win. And that's what it's all about... As a team we're progressing the right way.
InsideHoops.com: How's it going with Eddy Curry, the team's main low post threat last season, not around anymore?
Luol Deng: We definitely miss Eddy, but we got new guys who just play as hard. Mike Sweetney's been great for us, Darius Songaila, Othella, Tyson, right now we just have a bunch of different guys that we can go to in the low post. And also, we miss Eddy but we're still finding a way to get points in the low post.
InsideHoops.com: Mike Sweetney, he came in and was coming off the bench, but he's worked his way up to being a starter and is playing well.
Luol Deng: Yeah, he's been great for us. And that's what we need him to do. He's just a great competitor and a great teammate.
InsideHoops.com: And for you, what's the difference between starting and coming off the bench?
Luol Deng: I think there's no difference. It's really about doing what you're supposed to do. Being on the bench, you don't start the game, but mentally you have to be in the game, and come in ready. It's a different role, but it's just not the toughest role to adjust to. I'm trying to find my ways, and starting to get more comfortable with it.
InsideHoops.com: The Bulls as a team, what do you think has gone well and what needs to improve?
Luol Deng: I think our best thing has been when we play defense. We're capable of scoring. Turning turnovers into baskets. I think the number one thing is we cut down on our turnovers. Last year, 0-9, we averaged 22 turnovers. This year we're averaging about 13, 14, which for the start of the season is great. We just want that to keep decreasing. And I think that's been the best thing.
InsideHoops.com: That was crazy last year, how you guys started so badly and then played much better the rest of the season.
Luol Deng: Yeah, it just shows that you got to stick with it.
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