The MemoraBull, VeneraBull and IncredaBull Luol Deng

photo by Keith Allison (Flickr)
photo by Keith Allison (Flickr)

Ending one longtime era and starting a new, certainly different one, the Bulls traded Luol Deng to the Cavaliers late Monday night for center Andrew Bynum and three draft picks.

The Bulls will waive Bynum before the second half of his $12.3 million contract becomes guaranteed on Tuesday. That move will drop them below the luxury-tax threshold in a season in which they no longer are championship contenders after the loss of Derrick Rose to a knee injury, saving them close to $15 million.

So, Luol Deng is gone from the Windy City. The hustling, defending, never-ending Deng always ready to play 40 minutes a night. And Coach Thibs always willing play him those 40 minutes and more.

Playing so many minutes and doing so for nearly a decade in Chicago has made Deng one of the most venerable Chicago Bulls. Other people will do a better job of describing Deng’s on-court impact, so instead of that, I’ll just toss out some perspective via Deng’s franchise ranks in Chicago.

On-court Time
In terms of minutes, only Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Jerry Sloan have played more minutes in a Bulls uniform than Deng. Unsurprisingly, all three of those players have their jerseys retired by the Bulls. And just behind Deng at #5 on the list is Bob Love, who happens to complete the list of players with jerseys retired by Chicago.

With regard to games played, just Jordan, Pippen, Sloan and John Paxson have suited for more nightly tilts than Luol. Combine the 22,882 minutes played over the course of 637 games and Deng averages 35.9 minutes for each game played as a Bull.

On-court Production
With all that on-court time, Deng obviously will have some significant on-court production. Here are some testaments to his offensive output:

  • Points: 10,286 good enough for 4th all-time
  • Field Goals Made: 3987, 5th all-time
  • Field Goals Attempted: 8675, 5th all-time
  • Free Throws Made: 1925, 8th all-time
  • Free Throws Attempted: 2490, 8th all-time
  • 3-Pointers Made: 387, 7th all-time
  • 3-Pointers Attempted: 1170, 5th all-time

With “hustle” stats Deng also does quite well. He’s got the 5th most steals of any Bull ever with 639 – that puts him behind legendary defenders Jordan, Pippen, and “Stormin’ Norman” Van Lier… and also Kirk Hinrich. Luol also is 8th in total rebounds for the Chicago franchise with 4078.

And all of that production doesn’t measure the kind of defensive acumen and pressure Deng was capable of playing.

Mr. Bull of the 2000s
So, Deng does pretty well all-time in Bulls franchise history but focusing on the period after Michael Jordan retired and the Bulls dynasty collapsed, Luol takes on even greater prominence. Since the 1998-99 season, these are Deng’s ranks in categories:

  • Games – 1st
  • Minutes – 1st
  • Points – 1st
  • Field Goals Made – 1st
  • Free Throws Made – 1st
  • Total Rebounds – 1st
  • Defensive Rebounds – 1st
  • Offensive Rebounds – 2nd
  • Steals – 2nd
  • Assists – 3rd
  • Blocks – 4th
  • 3-Pointers Made – 4th

That’s quite a resume from Deng as he sails on to Cleveland and clearly establishes him as the Mr. Bull of his era. We’ll see in the years to come whether Chicago and NBA fans remember Deng as such.

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