The Los Angeles Lakers have surprised just about everyone with their start to this season. Luke Walton’s team is 6-5 and getting contributions from everyone on the roster. Unfortunately, one player who has been a disappointment is veteran Luol Deng.
Deng is the highest paid Lakers player after signing a four-year, $72 million deal in the offseason, but has struggled mightily so far, especially on offense.
Walton is standing behind his starting small forward, however, saying he isn’t concerned with Deng’s offensive struggles according to Mark Medina of the LA Daily News:
“Everyone is going to get different amounts of shots from different areas each night. It is harder in that sense to know when your shots are coming,” Walton said. “But he’s a professional, in the gym and working every day before practice and staying afterwards getting treatment. I’m not concerned with him starting to knock down his shot again.”
For his part, Deng admits that he isn’t satisfied with his performance so far, but vowed to continue trying to figure it out, via Medina:
“I’m still trying to be consistent,” Deng said. “I’m not really satisfied with where I’m at […] I’m always a player that is trying to figure it out,” Deng said. “I have to keep on seeing how I can be most effective.”
Deng is currently averaging only 6.3 points per game while shooting just 31.2 percent from the field, far below his career averages of 15.4 points and 45.7 percent shooting. He is currently second on the team in rebounds at 5.8 per game, and his defense has been decent, but there is no doubt that he has performed below expectations so far.
On the plus side, Deng is an extremely hard worker and a true professional. No one is more unhappy with Deng’s performance than himself, and he will work tirelessly to turn things around.