The Portland Trail Blazers will host a free-agent mini-camp this week, with veterans like Rodney Stuckey and Marcus Thornton headlining the group. But Majok Deng, a big man who has played two seasons in Australia, is coming into the camp with his own goal: earn a Summer League invite. As Liam Santamaria of NBL.com details, Deng has mini-camp invites from the Blazers and Dallas Mavericks. It’s his chance to earn a return to Summer League:
Speaking with NBL Media before flying to the States, Deng said he’s keen to show both Portland and Dallas that he’s ready to make the leap.
“I feel confident in myself. I feel like I’ve got what it takes,” Deng said.
“It’s always about chances and I feel like this is one of the chances that I needed. It’s all about going in there ready to play and not overthinking it.”
Deng previously played in the Summer League two years ago with the Minnesota Timberwolves — appearing in just one game — but says he’s much better prepared now after two seasons playing in Adelaide under coach Joey Wright.
“My first time I didn’t really play a lot as I was straight out of college. They felt like I wasn’t ready physically and that I didn’t read the game well enough,” Deng explained.
“Since then I’ve been working hard on my body and my game. Joey’s been helping me a lot and I’m feeling a lot more confident than I did my first year.”
Deng averaged 7.3 points and 2.4 rebounds in 13 minutes per game for the Adelaide 36ers this season. He is credited with playing a big part in Adelaide making the NBL’s Grand Final this year. After the NBL season, Deng joined Mount Gambier of the SEABL, but he suffered an ankle injury that sidelined him. Mount Gambier released the big man to recover and pursue the NBA, saying he’s been receiving “substantial interest.”
Deng, while 6-foot-10, is not afraid to mix up his shot selection (he shot 43 percent from 3-point land this season). Here’s an example of his long-range game at work:
Mr. 4th Quarter aka @MajokDeng13 dropped a career high 16 points in the final 10 minutes, hitting BIG bucket after BIG bucket to come away with the @Adelaide36ers win and @ladbrokescomau player of the game props #NBL18 #PERatADE pic.twitter.com/kudbBVlgOI— NBL (@NBL) January 4, 2018
You can read more about Deng’s journey here.