The Bulls nearly choked away a 14-point lead against the Blazers on Tuesday night, but Andrew Goudelock scored all five of the team's points in overtime and SummerBulls did what SummerBulls do, staying unbeaten by defeating SummerBlazers 80-78. While Goudelock struggled shooting the ball after tearing it up in the first two games of Las Vegas Summer League, Marquis Teague was there to pickup the slack on the offensive end.
Believe this: Marquis Teague is shooting 100 percent from three-point range in Summer League (on four attempts). Teague scored 25 points on 7-of-14 shooting and went 3-for-3 from deep to pace SummerBulls throughout the game. Teague had an interesting matchup against the Blazers' C.J. McCollum, the No. 10 pick from this year's draft. Neither could stop each other all night. McCollum finished with 27 and hit a game-tying three-pointer with 10 seconds remaining. Teague didn't look good defensively, but he was a killer with the ball in his hands.
NBA guards are generally amazing athletes, but even by those standards, Teague looks phenomenally quick. He was driving by McCollum and finishing at the rim all night. The steller outside shooting is what's most encouraging, though. Teague's jump shot never looked totally broken as a rookie (take a peek at the hitch in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's jumper, for example), but it's impossible to say if this newly improved shot is here to stay. If it is, it's a development that will go a long way towards making the 20-year-old guard a regular member of the Bulls' rotation.
Many Bulls fans wasted no time proclaiming Teague as a bust last year as a rookie, but I liked the pick from the start and continue to believe in him. He's always had the pedigree and the athleticism to make it in this league. Teague was the No. 5 player in the country as a high school senior according to Rivals. As a college freshman, he started all 40 games for one of the best college teams in recent memory, a Kentucky squad that went 38-2 and won the national championship. He gave the Bulls nothing last year and he still probably won't have a much larger role this season. But Kirk Hinrich's contract mercifully expires after this year, plus you know he's going to get hurt at some point during the regular season, probably for a long time. Teague will at least get a chance to show if he's a player the Bulls can roll with going forward.
If he is, and the Bulls are a title contender in '15 and '16 (the last two years of his rookie deal), I'm cool with an 19-year-old (he was born in 1993) taking a couple seasons to get acclimated to the NBA game. I just want an awesome backup point guard for seasons three and four. I think Teague does have that potential, and while you never want to get too excited about Summer League, at least he's shown he's capable of playing really well. He played really well tonight and the SummerBulls won because of it.
We know that SummerBulls are awesome and fun to watch, but it's still kind of amazing they won this game tonight. They were playing without their starting front line for pretty much the entire game against a team that started two lottery picks going on their second season (Meyers Leonard and Thomas Robinson). Malcolm Thomas was out with an ankle sprain (I think) and Erik Murphy broke his nose 15 minutes into the game. Also, the Michael Jordan of the SummerBulls, guard Andrew Goudelock, had a pretty miserable game until overtime. Goudelock entered averaging 28.5 points per game, but only finished the night with 11 points (five in OT) on 4-of-13 shooting.
Tony Snell played really well, especially in the first half. Snell put up 12 points, five rebounds and three assists at halftime, and finished with 14-6-4 on 6-of-10 shooting. He made a three (one in four attempts) and continued to impress driving to the basket. He made all three of his free throws. Snell clearly needs to get stronger (you will hear this 15,000 times), but he's shown some pretty decent ball handling ability and a determination to get to the rim. Those are good qualities.
Can you tell I kind of like watching the SummerBulls? Obviously, they're better with Thomas, Murphy and Goudelock going strong, none of which happened on Tuesday. Still, SummerBulls finish group play 3-0 in Las Vegas, and are ready to enter the tournament.
Now that the Financial Champs banner can finally come down since the Bulls finally paid the luxury tax, I think we have room for the Summer League champs banner.