We're still a month away from the regular-season opener, people, and I'm stunned by the negativity toward Luol Deng.
I understand he missed the final 2 1/2 months of the regular season and the playoffs with an injury, but it's not as if he was sitting out with a hang nail. He had a stress fracture in his shin, and that's not something anyone can (or should) play through.
Injuries are a part of the game and he wasn't physically able to go at the end of last season. Listening to some of the comments, though, it's like he's always hurt and never plays. Yes, he's been hurt at times, but he played 63 games two years ago, 82 games the year before that and 78 games the year before that.
I also understand Deng wasn't playing well before he was injured. He was struggling to adjust to his new role under Vinny Del Negro and didn't appear comfortable in the offense.
But it would be ridiculous to label him a bust and say the Bulls totally blew it by signing him to a $71 million contract. Deng still is only 24 years old and there's no reason he can't reclaim the form of three years ago when he averaged 18.8 points on 51.7 percent shooting.