Marquis Teague finished up his rookie year with a statline that says "I don't belong in the NBA". He had a PER of six, a shooting percentage under 40%, a three point percentage under 20%, and barely got to the free throw line. All in all, it was about as bad as rookie seasons get.
Given that Marquis Teague was drafted at the end of the first round where draft busts are common, it would be easy to look at that stat line and completely dismiss any hope that Teague will play a meaningful role for the Bulls (or anyone else) in the future.
His trade value certainly hasn't improved after everyone in the league passed on him once in the draft, and he went out and played fairly lousy his rookie season.
Jimmy Butler had a similarly bad rookie season, but he did show that he could get to the foul line at a very high rate per minute giving him a not so awful scoring rate despite horrific shooting. Given one of Teague's strengths is getting to the rim, the lack of generating free throws is another red flag to go with all the other red flags.
That said, I'm not going to give up on Marquis Teague. Unlike Jimmy Butler, he didn't have three years of college. His brother, Jeff, also had a horrific rookie year with a PER of 4.7 and barely played. He became quite a player after that. Now Jeff was a shooter whereas Teague was not. Jeff also played two years in school vs Marquis's one.
Marquis has shown me two NBA skills so far.
1: He can play man defense
2: He can get to the hoop
Those are two pretty significant NBA skills, but neither are particularly good if he can't fill in the puzzle around them. Fortunately for Teague, those skills are the hard parts.
His team defense fairly atrocious last year. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad except that everyone else is such a good team defender that it stands out when you aren't. Just ask Carlos Boozer. However, individually, he showed great defensive effort and ability when guys would iso him. He needs to improve on his decision making speed in the pick and roll, but he has the tools to become a very good defensive PG.
Teague lived at the hoop in summer league, but he also took around 65% of his shots at the hoop in the NBA. He finished those at a shade under 50% and then was simply abysmal on everything else he did. The challenge for Teague is to get that inside finishing rate up near 60% and get his midrange/outside rate up to 40%.
I was impressed by Teague's summer league stint. He showed the ability to get to the basket, showed much better decision making when he got there, and flashed an improved shot. While I don't have exact numbers in front of me breaking down his summer league shot selection and percentages, it seems from the eyeball test that he did that.
That said, you know who else impressed me in summer league? Lonnie Baxter. Anthony Randolph. A host of other players who fell out of the league shortly after, barely hung on, or never made it at all. You know who else had horrific rookie seasons with PERs in the single digits? A thousand guys we don't remember because they washed out in one or two seasons.
My point isn't that Teague has shown us so much that he has to do well, thus far, the signals around his play point down more so than up. My point is that the Bulls draft record has been pretty good, we've seen specific, easily related examples of similar players that busted out, and Teague has some legit NBA caliber skills to build around.
I'm not sure what will happen with Marquis. I know his opportunities will likely be limited again this season, but the Bulls will have to see enough to decide on whether he's the back up PG next season or whether they need to find someone else in free agency.
If Tom Thibodeau can look past just this year, he'd be wise to give Teague plenty of chances in order to make that decision. Not only does it answer an important question for the Bulls, but it should help keep the brittle Kirk Hinrich healthier to limit his minutes whenever possible.
No one should look at Teague's resume right now and think the Bulls have found another gem, but I'm not ruling it out yet either.