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updated: 5/31/2013 4:20 PM

Teague's results were limited but promising

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  • Miami's LeBron James drives on Bulls point guard Marquis Teague during Game 4 of the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals. Most of Teague's playing time in his rookie season game while Kirk Hinrich was injured.

      Miami's LeBron James drives on Bulls point guard Marquis Teague during Game 4 of the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals. Most of Teague's playing time in his rookie season game while Kirk Hinrich was injured.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 

By Mike McGraw

mmcgraw@dailyherald.com

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Tenth in a series

Marquis Teague probably had the ideal temperament for an NBA rookie whose playing time was sparse -- quiet and observant.

He also has a pretty good mentor who lived in the same house growing up, older brother Jeff, the starting point guard for Atlanta. So no doubt Marquis got the "keep a positive attitude, be ready when your number is called" talk more than once.

Overall, Teague didn't prove much during his rookie season with the Bulls. He appeared in 48 of the 82 games and averaged just eight minutes when he did play.

The bright spot was on the few occasions when Teague got a chance to contribute, he displayed the athletic skills the Bulls couldn't pass up with the No. 30 pick of the 2012 draft. At last year's predraft camp, Teague's vertical leap measured 40.5 inches -- a half-inch more than Derrick Rose -- and he had a pretty good sprint time that wasn't in Rose's neighborhood.

Teague's best times on the court came early last season when Kirk Hinrich sat out with injuries. On Nov. 12 against Boston, Rajon Rondo was having a big night. Teague got the call in the fourth quarter and the Bulls held the Celtics scoreless for more than five minutes and trimmed a 13-point deficit to 2 before losing.

Then in December, he finished back-to-back wins over Philadelphia and Brooklyn. At that point, some reporters (OK, it was this one) started wondering if Teague should be given a permanent spot in the rotation.

That didn't happen, obviously. Coach Tom Thibodeau stuck with Nate Robinson, with good results, and Teague didn't score a single point in January. Then he played all of two minutes in the final 14 games of the regular season.

Teague got another chance when Hinrich was sidelined in the playoffs. The Indianapolis native played 14 minutes in the Game 7 win at Brooklyn and, of course, flashed his speed by getting to the hoop for a lay in.

So Teague's season can be quickly summarized: Nice potential, limited opportunity. He's 20 years old and played just one season at Kentucky, so he'll probably need some time to develop.

The question heading into next year is whether he'll hold down the backup point guard spot behind a recovered Rose, continue to bide his time while playing infrequently, or be used as a trade chip for a team with a stronger need at point guard than the Bulls.

The answer is difficult to predict. Besides adding Rose, Hinrich will be back next year. Robinson probably won't return, but it's possible the Bulls will try do something with their playoff hero.

If Teague turns out to be a good player, the Bulls will benefit one way or another. Watching and waiting is the ongoing plan for now.

Next man up: The Expendables

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