Draft night didn’t go exactly how I had hoped it would for the Chicago Bulls, but it could have been worse. With the run of Euro bums in the 2nd round, I was fully prepared for GarPax to draft some guy who wouldn’t be coming to the states until ’15 or ’16. But somehow, the Bulls deviated from the script and selected Marquis Teague out of Kentucky with the 29th pick. Even though they desperately needed a point guard to take over while Derrick Rose is out (and a backup on a rookie deal for 5 years when Rose returns), Teague was not expected to be there.
The Bulls figured he wouldn’t be available because they never worked him out. And when you consider they worked out 563 players leading up to this draft, this isn’t them just playing the “we couldn’t believe he was available” card. I rarely believe anything that comes from the Bulls, but I’m with them on this.
Teague has a 40.5 inch vertical, averaged 10 points, 4.8 assists and 2.7 turnovers in helping Kentucky to the National Championship, shot 32.5 percent from 3-point range & is the younger brother of Jeff Teague who absolutely killed the Bulls in the playoffs in ’10. Teague’s J needs work, but his ability to get to the rim is impressive. If you read my draft preview, you know I put a premium on guys that can break a defense down and create his his own shot. Teague is a better prospect than any of the wing players that were projected to be taken at 29, and it’s refreshing to see them take the best player on the board.
The Bulls knew they needed another player that can alleviate the pressure off Rose, and Teague will fit in nicely with #1 when he comes back. Kirk Hinrich isn’t a lock to come back, but it’s likely that he’ll come cheaper than say Ray Felton, Steve Nash or Andre Miller. As for Brandon Roy, I can’t see the Bulls offering the full $5 million a year mid-level exception for old knees if they are so determined to retain Omer Asik.
As for trading one or two members of their precious core, I doubt anything serious ever came close to fruition. As much as the Bulls over value their guys, teams in the lottery act as if these picks are in the ’84, ’96 & ’03 drafts. The price to move up was ridiculous, and I’m thrilled the Bulls weren’t about to take back somebody else’s bad money (like Tyrus Thomas’ $26 million over 3 years, or Andris Biedrins’ $18 million over 2 years) just to move up in the lottery.
The Bulls know the luxury tax concerns that are facing them, and it’s possible deals involving Luol Deng and/or Joakim Noah can be examined again later in the summer or at the trade deadline. No matter what GarPax says about loving this team’s core, they can’t possible be that stupid to think that this current roster is still in a championship window.
That shit closed with the quickness the second Rose’s knee buckled. And even if it hadn’t, this wasn’t a young Thunder like squad that had 4 studs under 24. They rebuilt the roster on the fly after they were turned down by LeBron, Wade & Bosh and built as good of a team as they could considering the circumstances.
I like the Teague pick, but this team is in a holding pattern until this time in ’14. That’s when they can prepare for Nikola Mirotic’s arrival, Rose’s return to freak status, Deng’s contract coming off the books & when they’ll finally amnesty Carlos Boozer. Losing Deng & Loozer will create nearly $30 million in cap space. But until then, it’s all about finding a way to trade Deng and/or Noah to speed up the rebuilding process that’s staring them directly in the face.