Bulls will count on Teague’s ability to help in transition


Jun 28

Despite facing a season that will start without Derrick Rose, the Bulls approached the 2012 NBA Draft with the same philosophy as any other year: Select the best player available.

Bulls General Manager Gar Forman did just that on Thursday, and it just so happened that at No. 29, Chicago took a point guard in Kentucky freshman Marquis Teague.

“We were very excited Marques Teague was still on the board,” said Forman. “Obviously, we feel we got a real value in this pick.”

Citing that Teague that started all 40 games as point guard for a Kentucky team that fielded six players selected in this year’s NBA Draft en route to a 38-2 season and national championship, Forman added that his scouting staff has followed Teague since he played at Pike High School in Indianapolis. As a senior, he was one of five finalists for the Naismith Award for the National High School Player of the Year after averaging 22.7 points, 5.9 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game.

And while Rose is virtually irreplaceable, Teague will provide the Bulls with some of the things which Rose excelled at doing.

“He gives us another guy that can break defenses down, get into the paint, and make plays for himself and others,” said Forman.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau agreed, calling Teague’s experience in big games an important factor.

“His ability to push the ball and get into transition is a big plus,” said Thibodeau. “His quickness, I think, we can take advantage of that.”

Throughout the Bulls’ predraft process, Forman stated that the intelligence that his staff gathered painted Teague as a very competitive player and a winner who comes from a high profile program—qualifications the Bulls have valued in recent drafts.

Kia Draft 2012 logo

“He’s got great speed and quickness, and we think, a very, very high ceiling,” Forman added of Teague, who he said tested among the best of the best at the NBA draft combine in Chicago two weeks ago.

Both Forman and Thibodeau were also impressed with Teague’s improvement throughout his freshman season. In conversations between Bulls management and Kentucky coach John Calipari on Thursday, Calipari stressed Teague’s defensive improvements in particular. That being said, he’s still a 19-year old who is on the verge of making the substantial leap from college to the NBA.

“It’s a big step going from college to the pro game,” acknowledged Thibodeau. “The fact that he’s played in a number of big games helps. The fact that he’s been around the pro game helps. There’s a big learning curve for him. He’s got to learn our system and our players. But as Gar mentioned, he made very progress throughout the course of last season. We’re expecting him to do the same here.”

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