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Sunday, April 14

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Bulls Fri Jun 29 2012

Surprise! Bulls Draft PG Marquis Teague

Bulls_200.pngAccording to K.C. Johnson, the Bulls "couldn't believe Teague was there." And with the 29th pick in the draft, it didn't matter that he wasn't one of the countless players that worked out for John Paxson and Gar Forman at the Berto Center. Marquis Teague became a Chicago Bull.

My reaction was somewhat similar: I just couldn't believe the Bulls drafted him at all.

The 6-foot-2 inch freshman point guard (and brother of Hawks PG and noted Bulls antagonist Jeff Teague) was a stunning pick by Chicago in a draft that turned upside-down after Teague's former Kentucky teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist went second overall to the Bobcats in a surprise to pretty much everyone that put out a mock draft.

Teague was projected in the mid- to late-first round pick (with Orlando and Indiana as possible destinations at 19 and 26), but was thought to have the talent of a lottery player despite some holes in his game. Holes which I don't believe make him a good fit in a Bulls uniform.

There's no question that Teague is one of the fastest players in this year's draft. In fact, ESPN's NBA Draft analyst Chad Ford (who rated him 19th overall) talks up his speed and quickness in five out of the six positives he has listed for Teague. Those are great traits, unless one of your weaknesses is being loose with the basketball - which he is. A 1.75 assist-to-turnover ratio is pretty awful when three of your teammates went in the top 18 picks (Anthony Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, and Terrence Jones).

Teague is also a really poor shooter - something the Bulls don't exactly need when they struggle to score the basketball already. In his only season, he shot just 41 percent from the field, and 33 percent from the college three point line, along with making just 71 percent of his free throws. For someone who's offensive game is predicated on attacking the rim, that last percentage is awfully low, but admittedly something that can be improved upon greatly in the NBA.

It's clear the Bulls drafted Teague as Derrick Rose's eventual backup once he returns from his knee injury either late next year or the year after. I figured the Bulls would go after a guard, but I thought GarPax would make a run at shooting guards like Will Barton (Memphis) or Doron Lamb (another of Teague's former teammates) to fill an obvious scoring need.

Another player that kept waiting to hear his name called was Baylor forward Perry Jones III, who was taken by Oklahoma City just one pick ahead of the Bulls. If he was available, I wonder if they would've pulled the trigger on him, despite forward not being a team need? Jones is an enigmatic player who would've gone in the top 5 of last year's draft, but decided to stay another year (a theme that turned out horribly for him, Jared Sullinger, and Harrison Barnes), allowing GMs time to question his effort along with the discovery of a knee problem to make matters worse. If nothing else, it would've been an intriguing few moments, along with interesting answers if they passed on him too.

The selection of Teague also makes projecting what the Bulls do with CJ Watson, Kyle Korver, and Ronnie Brewer even tougher. Watson will more than likely be kept so the Bulls have some semblance of a floor leader without Rose and Luol Deng, but Jerry Reinsdorph's utter refusal to the pay any luxury tax in the past would mean that both Brewer and Korver will be released. That leaves the Bulls insanely thin at shooting guard and small forward, and only enough money to sign veteran players to minimum contracts. Barton or Lamb would've lessened the impact of those potential departures.

Speaking of Deng, the pre-draft rumors of him potentially being dealt to Golden State for the number seven pick were completely erroneous. The Warriors are over the salary cap, and would've had to send someone of similar salary back to the Bulls in the exchange. The only guy fitting that mold is Richard Jefferson, and the mere thought of that deal makes me laugh uncontrollably because of how bad it is.

From an outsider's perspective, I'm not a fan of taking Teague. The Bulls need to forget about pursuing a title next year, because without Rose for most (or all) of the regular season, and Deng being out until January-ish, making the playoffs will be difficult enough. Teague surely won't play next to Rose when the former MVP comes back, and when you have an All-Star scoring point guard who plays 36 minutes a night, his backup isn't a position I worry about drafting. A player that fits that mold can be found with a minimum contract in free agency, while the pick should be used on someone you hope to eventually play 20+ minutes on a longer term contract at a controlled salary.

GarPax might have been amazed he was available, I'm just in shock they took an eventual backup.

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