Marquis Teague: Draft bust or potential player

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.

Filed under: Players

Tags: chicago bulls, marquis teague, nba


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  • I'm sorry but I'm just not a Marquis Teague fan. He looks out of place and very awkward tome when he's on the floor. The guy can't shoot, maybe it's just him being very young or something. He's going to have to show vast improvements for me to change my opinion of his game which is not impressive at all as of now even after this past summer league.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Yes, it's because he's very young...he's 20 years old. I'd give him another season before writing him off.

    He's fast, can get to the rim and has potential to be a defensive disruptor. Of course he'll need to work on his shot mechanics big time.

  • Teague was an absolute stud in summer league. I've like what I've read about his attitude and approach. I think it's very likely he breaks out either this year or next.

  • Just don't getwhy you draft a guy when you are set at point and can sign a decent backup point. Could've used that pick on a big man to develop.

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    When the Bulls pick (Late First) you have to take best availible player as the bust rate is too high to do anything else. Teague has a huge ceiling and appears to be working hard to reach it. Remember PG and Centers have the biggest learning curve.

  • He was a good utility pick for a bad draft. We needed an extra body at PG and he's put in some good minutes. It's tough to name the guy drafted after Marquis the Bulls should've taken instead. Alexi Schved maybe, but he wasn't on anyone's draft radar.

  • I agree we need to give him one more year before sending him off to James Johnson territory. From what I read, he hired a shooting coach and has been in the gym working hard on his skills. I think he made 6/8 threes in summerleague and looks a bit stronger but still needs alot of work to be able to finish at the rim. i haven't really seen any reliable floater which would be good for him since he has trouble finishing at the rim. His defense and rebounding for a small guard are pretty good and should get better, he just needs to play smarter, be in control and shoot with confidence. What we see as a near bust today can become a valuable asset in which we can get a late lotto pick and get that long awaited backup center(It's been 5 years since the Bulls drafted a center-Omer Asik 2008). So his development will be huge not only for a backup for the next few years but having valuable assets to package for a star or move up in the draft in the future.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    There's not a Bulls draft pick that you could say, after one season, what the future holds, except for Michael Jordan and Derrick Rose. He's neither - but why sign an old back-up PG like Mo Williams or junk like that for $3-$5 mill when you can get one for much cheaper, one that is much more athletic, one that is going to have no probelm sitting behind D-Rose, and one that comes from 1) a Kentucky Nat'l championship and 2) a Teague family with a bro who is an above average NBA talent. The Bulls are not set at that position. Hinrich, at this point, is probably more effective playing off ball. He is either outmatched or breaks down when he plays bulk PG minutes. And, if you actually look at Bulls picks historically at PG, they have been damn good. Jay Williams, Jamal Crawford, Chris Duhon, Kirk Hinrich, Derrick Rose are all ranging from solid to exceptional players when they were utilized. Jay Williams would have been a stud if not for the accident. Final point - Miami backs up with Norris Cole, recent pick, Indiana backs up with DJ Augustin, recent draft pick, OK City with Reggie Jackson, Houston with Beverley, Clippers with Bledsoe, Brooklyn just drafted Tyshawn Taylor to backup D-Will, so basically the notion of having a "veteran back-up PG" is irrelevant nowadays. You need someone that can come in fresh and get to the basket and make plays for 2nd units that aren't as capable as starting line-ups to score. Teague will be Jimmy Butler from last year this year.

  • In reply to Curmudgeonly:

    Really, really good post Curmudgeonly!! I guess I don't pay too much attention to the league to notice who the backup PG's are, but that's really interesting and I'll remember it!!

    Doug, I'm not agreeing or disagreeing ... but with Hinrich injured as much as he did, Teague got significantly more playing time, and at critical moments, that Butler did his first year. And JB played 4 yrs in the Big East!! So I say give the 20 y/o a break!

  • Doug, find an editor.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    The other alternative would be to not write articles at 5:50am when I'm still half asleep, but what can you do ;) The time required to have an editor is too big a pain in the ass. No one qualified is going to do it for free on a timely enough basis to make it work.

    Really, you just have to hope I'm better and that's probably unlikely.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    imo, Doug does a great job!
    I can excuse a few typos, this is a blog after all, not a publishing concern. Doug also has an excellent and loyal following which is indicative of the quality output.

  • In reply to Edward:

    totally agree, who cares about a few typo's or gramatical errors, even though I occasionally find the need to poke fun at some of them.

    I for one am greatly appreciative of the effort and the quality of the work and thought process that goes into it.

  • Who hires an editor for writing a blog? Doug donates his time to all of us fans. We know what he means.

    Teague has the talent, the speed, and the pedigree -- plus a good work ethic. That combo usually pays off, even if it takes 3 years. Let's hang in there with him for a while. Coaches, keep working with this kid!

  • I am a Teague fan I think the kid has a ton of upside. Most PGs (that are not scoring PGs) take time to develop and he will be no different. Based on Summer League you can tell he has become a lot better over the past year and he still has a lot of work ahead of him but he has the athletic traits and apperant desire that should bode well for his continued development.

    He was really raw when we drafted him which I think everyone knew he was and that is why his rookie campaign was rough although late in the season I thought he started to play pretty solid ball but I wasn't expecting much from him...

    He was like 18 or 19 when we drafted him so I a bit surprised we are questioning his bust status already. I think as he polishes his game up going against Rose every day this season by the end we won't be.

  • I think Chad's last paragragh is MOST INSIGHTFUL. He's 20 years old now.,and plays against Derek Rose in practice and IS IMPROVING.

    We might really have someone special here. How about a little patience. Also,

    HE's CHEAP.,and he'll be cheap next year too. And he'll be 21 with 2 years of NBA experience. And we'll have him the next year cheap., when Kirk can leave and we don't have to worry about getting amother PG.

    Hope we can trade as well as we have drafted the last few years.

  • I would certainly comment on what I think I see in Teague, but I was thinking about it, and I can't single out any significant area in which he impressed me during his rookie season. Then again, there is the unavoidable comparisons with his brother, in which their rookie numbers are staggeringly similar. Jeff Teague was a 38% FG 21% 3PT guy on very similar poor efficiency numbers in his debut season. He has since become a great little piece and has carved out a spot for himself in this league. No point being leveled, just interesting is all. If nothing it should give hope to the Bulls faithful out there. Personally, I view him as a potential option to the NBADL, but I've never been the wildly optimistic type.

    I haven't posted much here the last couple of years, but I just wanted to let you know I always check into this blog for my Bulls commentary, as I have for the last four years. I can't always agree with you, Doug, but I sure enjoy reading your insights. Keep on doing your thing.

  • Its also good to see the same names on here still doing it, Roadwarrior, bigway, reece; but where is Mr. Happy when you need him?

  • I am not sold on Teague. From day one, I was concerned that his assist to turnover ratio on what amounted to a low-level pro team in college was fairly pedestrian; meaning he wasn't a particularly heady player. I saw nothing in his rookie season to sway me.

    I fear that Teague is a PG version of Tyrus Thomas. Fantastic 'measurables' that translate to middling performance on the court.

  • In reply to Salvamini:

    The difference being Thomas was drafted 4th overall in hopes of becoming a future star for the Bulls. Teague was drafted 29th overall and is backing up one of the biggest stars in the NBA in Derrick Rose. I'll take an athletic PG with middling performance as a backup for a couple minutes a night any day. Worse case scenario, Teague at least gets enough minutes this year to make another team bite on his 'potential'.

    IMO, Teague will be a very solid player this upcoming season and many seasons to come (albeit most likely not in a Bulls uniform). He struggles with consistency, but has shown enough to prove he belongs in the NBA.

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    Marquis Teague is a product of what's wrong in the NBA. They draft them too young (often a year removed from High School). GM's tell the public about a players upside, and potential. Ride him on the bench for a couple of years. Then call him a bust, and draft another major upside player to take his place on the bench. And,the cycle continues.
    He has to play in order to show improvement. He has to compete against top tier talent that the NBA offers. Not Summer League. That might as well be called advanced AAU basketball. I don't know what Marquis Teague has to bring to the Bulls, but I do know that he shouldn't play behind Kirk Hinrich all season long. The Kirk show has ran its' coarse. Now it's time to let the 1st rounder play behind the best PG in the league. Maybe he'll match Rose's intensity, quickness, and even learn a thing or two from the former MVP.

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