Haha, Tom Crean. (Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE)
Listen, I'm not going to pretend I brushed up on college hoops to know that the Bulls made the right or wrong call here. I'll leave that up to Alex's analysis, and both he, TheMoon, and others in the BaB community who really helped step up the draft preview work on this blog this year.
That doesn't mean I won't look back on this in a couple years and shake my head, hindsight's really cool that way. For now I'm pretty pleased with the selection of Marquis (who I just spelled 'Marcus' in the headline at first, whoops) Teague, a prospect who by nearly all mock projections fell to the Bulls at #29.
Now, as many have joked, teams always say they "can't believe that guy was available" to them on draft night. But as KC Johnson points out, the Bulls worked out nearly 50 players pre-draft and Teague wasn't one of them, which is pretty clear evidence that it's true in this case.
For what it's worth, Draft gurus seem to like the pick. Chad Ford of ESPN.com said he 'loves' it:
If Teague had stayed in school one more year, he might have been a top-10 pick. He is super quick, can get to the basket and is emerging as a floor leader.
John Hollinger's draft-rater (which attempts to project PER based on college statistics) admitted that PGs have a wild swing based on potential, and thus had this to say about Teague pre-draft:
Marquis Teague of Kentucky has talent to spare and star upside. The question is whether he can harness it. Teague was plagued by turnovers, especially early in the year, but he is an athletic scoring point guard in the mold of his older brother, the Atlanta Hawks' Jeff Teague.
This doesn't factor in the fit of Teague going to a team with its star PG out for much of the year. That's the crux of Alex's curiosity in his draft selection writeup: If the Bulls need wings, and ultimately a starting SG, why take the one position you know you have locked up?
I recognize that this draft was seen as deeper than most, even moreso at where the Bulls picked after the behavior of some teams selecting in front of them. But I think trying to reach for a smoking-gun addition to the team's core at the 29th slot is probably too ambitious. It's hard to judge this selection in a vacuum, because the choice to cut CJ Watson's modest salary (as KC, Mike McGraw, and Nick Friedell are saying is expected) opens up more questions. But even if the Bulls took someone who 'maxes out' as a long-term backup to Derrick Rose, that's really good for where they were picking. The Bulls needed wings, true, but even at full strength last year they also needed more ballhandlers and someone to break down the defense, and Teague looks to be at least that.
(Especially if not using them in a draft-day trade to get another low first-round selection, or simply using cash to buy a second-round one. Both options, especially the latter, looked to be readily available to a team willing to pay for it)
There will be more when the decision on the Watson/Brewer/Korver deals are made official and the speculation on Free Agency begins. And that'll happen, basically, right after this post.
But while it may be strange that the Bulls went for inexperienced upside at a position where they need a steady hand (or two), I'm pleased they went that direction instead of the earlier Thursday report of them taking a 4-year college veteran. That report could've still been true, and the Bulls were legitimately surprised that Teague fell to them. And if this selection means they deviated from their plan (getting a cheap CJ replacement) to add talent, then that's encouraging as well.