The Chicago Bulls have had great success drafting late in the first round in the past few NBA Drafts. The most recent examples of this have been Taj Gibson (26th pick in 2009) and Jimmy Butler (30th pick in 2011).
Both Gibson and Butler have been key to Chicago’s success over the past few seasons. Gibson is one of Chicago’s stronger defenders and one of the first players off the bench every night, while Jimmy Butler had a coming out party in the 2013 playoffs and will take over the starting shooting guard role this upcoming season.
The question Bulls fans have been asking this offseason is whether or not Marquis Teague will be the next late-round draft pick to play a big role for the Bulls this upcoming season.
The Bulls selected Teague with the 29th pick in the 2012 draft after playing just one season at Kentucky. Teague saw very little action last season, but was the key focus of Chicago’s Summer League team.
With guards Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli leaving Chicago to sign contracts elsewhere (Robinson to the Denver Nuggets and Belinelli to the San Antonio Spurs) many wondered if Teague was ready for a larger role this season after receiving minimal playing time his rookie year.
If there was one statement that Teague made during his Summer League play in Las Vegas, it was that he is indeed ready for a larger role this upcoming season.
Teague was arguably the most impressive Bull in Las Vegas, averaging 18.3 points per game along with 4.5 assists per game. Despite his stellar play this summer, Teague will enter the season as the no. 3 point guard on Chicago’s depth chart behind Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich. Although the veteran Hinrich will receive a majority of the playing time behind Derrick Rose, I expect to see an increase in Teague’s playing time in 2013-14.
It is no secret that coach Tom Thibodeau does not always love to play his rookies, and this can be seen through the development of Jimmy Butler. Butler managed to play only 8.5 minutes per game his rookie season, but then saw an increase of playing time his second year, recording 26 minutes per game his sophomore season and ultimately walking away with the starting shooting guard position.
Now, I am not suggesting that Teague will work his way into the starting rotation as Butler did, but I do expect to see him improve greatly upon his 8.2 minutes per game and 2.1 points per game from last season. With that being said, look for Teague to steadily improve his overall game throughout the course of the regular season while working his way in to coach Thibodeau’s rotation.