Luol Deng Aiming for NBA Championship

Deng

By @pbsportswriter

Luol Deng is looking forward to his best season yet and insists he can help the Miami Heat win an NBA championship.

The Heat missed the play-offs last season. But Deng has opted in to the second year of a contract that will pay him £6m to stay in Miami.

And he reckons their retooled roster has what it takes to go all the way – if they can stay healthy.

That was a problem last season when Chris Bosh’s season was cut short when he went down with blood clots in his lungs, and Dwyane Wade struggled with injuries.

But the Heat have made some interesting moves this summer, bringing in three-point threat Gerald Green and veteran big Amare Stoudemire, as well as rookie forward Justice Winslow.

And with a starting five of Goran Dragic, Wade, Deng, Bosh and Hassan Whiteside, they look competitive again in a weak Eastern Conference.

Miami

Deng said: “I think we’ve got veteran players who have been in the league a long time, and young players who are capable of having big nights.

“So it’s really good to see a strong starting five, a solid point guard, a solid back-up, and the bench is good also. It’s really a complete team right now.

“I had my first year in Miami last year and I always told myself if I’m somewhere twice it must be a good thing. I’m really looking forward to this year.

“It wasn’t about not renewing. It was about what was out there. I was really happy with the year that I had individually. I felt like it was one of my healthiest seasons.

“We had a lot of injuries in the team, a lot of different line-ups. But I shot the highest percentage of my career, the highest from three-point range.

“Even though my average was a little down it really didn’t affect me knowing that I was a better player.

“It was one of those seasons where nothing was going right for the team with guys in and guys out. But I was really excited with the team, my team-mates, and the organisation.

“Now I’m really looking forward to it. I think the big thing for us staying healthy. I think the healthiest team wins the league most of the time.

Luol Deng

“I really do think we have a shot at a ring. It’s not going to be easy. Everybody is going to be needed. But I really do.”

To win it all, the Heat will probably have to get past LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East before they get to take on the best of a stacked Western Conference.

But who does Deng feel are the favourites?

He said: “The team that stays healthiest usually wins. That’s why Golden State won. The finals would have been a lot more interesting if the Cavs had been healthy.

“I like the San Antonio Spurs because if they lose a player, they can cope better than anyone else. But we’re the most improved team this summer.

“I don’t have any concerns over Chris Bosh. He’s over what he had. And bringing a player like Dwyane Wade back was a no-brainer. We definitely have a shot.”

What do you make of the Miami Heat’s chances of making it to the NBA Finals? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

Luke Hatfield is the creator and editor of BouncyOrangeBall, with an extensive knowledge of the NBA and basketball in general.

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