The thought was Luol Deng would be fully ingratiated into the Cavaliers’ system by the end of this West Coast trip. The reality, according to Deng, is it will take much longer than that for him to feel comfortable with what the Cavs are doing.

The surprise is that Deng says he’s struggling defensively, which has long been considered his strength.
“I’m making a lot of mistakes,” Deng said. “People who don’t know the system might not notice it, but there’s a couple rotations I’m putting the team in bad situations because I’m not used to it.”

That might be, but Deng’s impact has been undeniable. He is averaging 18.5 points and 4.3 rebounds in four games with the Cavs, who are 2-2 on this trip that concludes today at the Denver Nuggets. The Cavs won just two of their first 17 road games, then matched that win total on this trip. Deng is shooting 52 percent (53 percent on 3-pointers) and is giving the Cavs an enormous lift at a position that has been a huge weakness for the past 3½ years.