So, this is the time of year that the Chicago Bulls play it safe, and well, they did.
They typically get a highly disciplined, motivated player with basketball smarts who can become a “contributor” in a few years. That’s sort of the mind behind Jimmy Butler, the 2011 draft pick.
At the bottom of the first round, the Bulls are a slam dunk to go the same avenue. And to wit, they took a solid, albeit sometimes exciting point guard who will serve as the creator in Derrick Rose’s huge void.
I’ve heard and watched little of Marquis Teague (maybe primarily because of his brother, Jeff), but this was the obvious pick at the obvious spot. We see that GarPax is simply too stubborn to budge on this roster. Instead of breaking it up via trade or moving up in the draft (with a Luol Deng or Joakim Noah trade), they stand pat and let a competent point guard fall to them.
Teague should be a solid, if not above average player in the NBA. His measurable suggest star-level talent with a vertical (though it doesn’t look nearly as sudden or explosive) at 40 inches and some real ball-handling speed. I like his hesitation move and does have true shot-creation skills.
His slight frame and pick and roll game reminds me of Mike Conley, Darren Collison and/or his brother Jeff. Those are all solid point guards in a league flush with them.
But again: To what end? Where does this go?
The Bulls area piecemealing a roster so clearly flawed and void of its hall-of-fame-level talent, that it seems shallow and lazy to project Teague’s effect on the Bulls. Think about it: If the Bulls were fully healthy—including Luol Deng—would Teague get them past the Miami Heat?
In short, no.
But I can’t fault John Paxson for the move because I simply don’t have the imagination to envision what should be done. The team and fans are asked to sit still until Derrick Rose’s return and even then, that might mean 2013. And by then, should the Bulls consider clearing cap room (with an amnestied Carlos Boozer) to acquire whatever star-level play can takeover Derrick’s role as alpha scorer.
Remember, Derrick can’t be the guy who knifes through four bodies as much. Too much wear and tear.
Maybe this works as a backward disclaimer for me: I don’t believe this helps the Bulls championship trajectory, but I like the pick, if they’re crossing their fingers for a healthy Rose in the next season.
I don’t believe the basketball fortunes of the Bulls are as bleak in the East as many. Miami, rightfully, claimed its championship with one of the best players ever in his playing prime. But its secondary star (Dwyane Wade) is sinking fast. They’re hamstrung by the cap and still don’t have a big or point guard they can trust.
I’m more fearful of the Oklahoma City Thunder because they still have three of the league’s top 20 players and they’re all younger than 23.
Back to Teague
It was strange to see the Bulls grab a player who had clear value to them at the spot they picked. He’s got some of those water bug qualities you see in Conley and Brandon Jennings.
Nevertheless, he doesn’t play with the athleticism that some of the elite points (with similar measurable) do. I noticed he likes to beat his man and then take difficult pull up jump shots and his decision-making leaves something to be desired.
The Bulls will say a lot of stupid things before he takes the court: “He’s not the starter, he’ll have to work his way in.”
But he’s the de-facto starter and he’s an interesting prospect at 19. What else could you ask for when you’re drafting at 29?
Contact Mike Mitchell at michaelkennethmitchell@Gmail.com.