Bulls stay on point, take Kentucky's Teague
DEERFIELD – Bulls general manager Gar Forman consistently has said replacing injured guard Derrick Rose will require a group effort.
On Thursday, the Bulls added a promising player to that group.
The Bulls selected Kentucky point guard Marquis Teague with the No. 29 overall pick in the first round of Thursday’s NBA draft.
Like Rose, Teague played for John Calipari in college and turned pro after his freshman year.
“We were very excited that he was still on the board,” Bulls general manager Gar Forman said. “We feel we got a real value in this pick.”
Although Teague is only 19 years old, he could have a chance to contribute early next season. The Bulls need immediate help in the backcourt to fill in for Rose, who is expected to miss at least the first half of next season as he recovers from a torn ACL.
Teague (6-2, 189 pounds) is an Indianapolis native with NBA bloodlines. He is the younger brother of Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague, who averaged 12.6 points and 4.9 assists a game in his third NBA season.
“He gives us another guy that can break defenses down, that can get into the paint and make plays both for himself and for others,” Forman said. “In all of the reports (and) all of the background that we did on him, everybody said he’s very competitive, he’s a winner.”
As a freshman, Teague started for a Kentucky squad that went 38-2 and won an NCAA championship. He averaged 10 points and 4.8 assists, which ranked second in the SEC. He shot 41.2 percent from the field, including 32.5 percent from 3-point range.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Teague’s background was impressive.
“He’s a very good player,” Thibodeau said. “He did a great job of running his team. There was a lot of pressure on that team all year long. They responded well. They met every challenge. That was a big plus.
“We’re going to look at his strengths and work with him. We want him to get in here as soon as possible. I think it’s important for him to have a big summer here. That’s the first step.”
Asked whether Teague could start as a rookie, Thibodeau said it was too soon to tell. The answer would depend on Teague’s performance, he said.
“It’s a big step going from college to the pro game,” Thibodeau said. “The fact that he has played in a number of big games helps. The fact that he has been around the pro game helps. But there’s a big learning curve for him.
“He has got to learn our system. He has got to learn our players. But as Gar mentioned, he made very good progress throughout the course of last season. We’re expecting him to do the same here.”
Now that the Bulls have selected Teague, other decisions await when the league’s free-agent signing period opens Sunday. Forman said he was confident that the Bulls could contend despite injuries to Rose and Luol Deng (wrist), who also could miss time next season.
“In the short term, we’ve taken a little bit of a hit, we’ve hit a bump in the road,” Forman said. “But as far as what we’re looking at long term, we still feel we’re headed in the right direction.”
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