<
>

Bulls hopeful Deng makes All-Star Game

2/9/2012

NEW ORLEANS -- Derrick Rose knows that Thursday night's announcement of All-Star reserves probably means more to him than it does to Luol Deng.

Rose, who already earned a starting spot in the game when he was voted in by fans last week, badly wants his teammate to make this year's game in Orlando, Fla. He believes that Deng has done enough to earn a spot this year. Deng is averaging 16 points and seven rebounds a game and he is probably the Bulls' best defender.

"I know that I'd probably be more hurt than Lu [if he doesn't make it], Rose said. "Knowing that he has a nonchalant attitude about making the team. But I think that he deserves it."

So do the rest of Deng's teammates and coaches.

"I hope they're good," Bulls' coach Tom Thibodeau said of Deng's chances. "You guys who follow our team, I think you understand how important he is to our team. Lu doesn't have to score to have a great impact on our team and winning. He plays great defense. He plays a great floor game. He moves without the ball. He makes the extra pass. And he has very good statistics, but you can't measure his impact statistically. I know what he brings. I know all the coaches and all his teammates appreciate everything that he does."

That doesn't mean Thibodeau will go out of his way to get extra votes for Deng. As much as he believes in his forward's cause, he doesn't think recruiting will help much.

"Nah, I know how I am when people do that," Thibodeau said. "I think that doesn't get you very far. These coaches, they know, they look, they study. I think his play speaks for itself. And I think if you value winning, you appreciate all the things that he does."