Luol Deng. The man of a rather pedestrian 15.8 career PER. He has been a slightly above average player for SIX years now. His defense is in decline, and he is a poor rebounder. Actually, a legitimately bad rebounder. Supposedly, Luol is fishing for a contract north of $10 million. Stop the madness.
By comparison, Marcus Morris had a 14.8 PER to Deng's 15.2. Marcus' rebounding percentage was 9.9%. Deng's was only 9.2%. If Marcus had played as many minutes as Deng, his defensive win shares would have came very close to eclipsing Deng in that category as well because Marcus had much better steal and block percentages.
Oh, and he is an awful shooter. He took 22% of his shots from three, even though Deng is literally bad at converting them (30% in 2013-14). He is also one of the worst catch and shoot players in the entire NBA at 29.8%.
That helps our spacing.
He use to be a good three point shooter when he shot about 1 or less a game. Now he somehow thinks shooting four or five a game is okay.
If Michael Beasley made you scratch your head with his shot selection, brace yourself for a potential Deng signing.
In Deng's last four seasons, he has shot 33.6% from three land.
It gets worse. He also shot 25% of his shots from deep two. That is Michael Beasley-esque levels people. Actually, Beasley has shot less of his shots from deep two in his career (28% of his shots) than Deng has (32% of his shots). Oh, and Beasley actually makes them at a slightly higher clip throughout his career. Ouch.
I know the Suns have a miracle training staff, and it is a great place for a declining 29 year old, but he hasn't exactly been the model player in terms of durability. 5 of his 10 seasons have been considerably shortened due to injury. I am talking totals of missing 21 games, 19 games, 33 games, 28 games, and 19 games again (another season where he missed 12 games too).
His athleticism is in steep decline as well, which is a big indicator or defensive success and activity. He doesn't block shots, and he doesn't steal many balls either. He has dunked 44 times in his last three seasons. He only attempts a dunk on 1.5% of his shot attempts. That number has declined from 8% of his shots, down to 5%, 4%, 3.5%, 3%, 2%, and now 1.5%. Alarming.
Other than his rookie season and the season he missed 33 games, his win shares were the lowest of his career too.
Lets go down the list one more time.
- Bad 3pt Shooter, but he shoots them a ton.
- Bad Deep Two Shooter (16-23 feet), but he shoots them a ton.
- Steeply Declining Defense/Athleticism
- Bad Rebounder
- Durability Concerns
I need to give Deng a little bit of credit, but I don't think I can off-set his glaring weaknesses and concerns.
Deng is a solid passer. In fact, his career assist percentage of 11.8% looks attractive next to his 10.5% career turnover rating. His capable passing would keep the ball flowing around the perimeter, as long as it doesn't stop at him.
Luol also shoots 65% at the rim, which is solid. The only issue is he doesn't get to the rack enough, which relates back to the noted decline in his athleticism. He shot the lowest percentage of his shots at the rim in his career in 2013-14.
Deng is also a veteran with a Thibodeau enhanced toughness that would fit nicely on the current Suns roster. His leadership would be a big plus in the locker room.
As far as I can see, there isn't much else to get excited about, unless we flash back to 2007.
Luol Deng would simply be a popularity signing for NBA heads that are clearly out of touch with actual production and statistics.
He would limit P.J. Tucker's minutes, squeeze out Marcus unless all of his minutes shift to the four, and T.J. Warren would be in the D-League or collecting butt sores on the bench.
And, if it is true Deng wants "significantly more than $10 million a season" on a 3-4 year deal, I want absolutely no part of it. You shouldn't either.
I want Sarver to spend, because he kind of has too with the current cap situation and the ability to go way over, but Deng would not be the guy to blow the load on. His intangibles don't make up for the disaster his offensive game has become.
Sorry Luol, but go find some other team to chuck 46% of your shots from beyond 16 feet. We are already paying Beasley to not do that.