Marquis Teague was assigned to the Iowa Energy of the D-League in early December, then was recalled without ever playing a game, then sent back down again a few weeks later. Considering just how poorly Teague was playing with the Bulls in his limited time, it made all the sense in the world to send him down and hopefully build up his confidence.
Of course, Teague would actually have to play to really gain that confidence. The first game with the Energy, play he did. In 35 minutes, Teague notched 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting while handing out six assists. He made his lone three, but he also turned the ball over five times and went just 2-of-5 from the line. Still, some positives there.
But in the last two games, Teague has seen his playing time drop. His second game was a truly dismal performance, as he scored just five points on 2-of-8 shooting in 16 minutes. He didn't record a single assist, although he did hit his only three for the second straight game.
The third game was a bit better, with Teague scoring 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting while handing out six dimes. However, he managed to play only 20 minutes despite playing relatively well. He did turn the ball over four times and was a -5 in those 20 minutes, but that doesn't seem like it should be enough to limit him to just 20 minutes in a D-League game.
Who has been getting Teague's minutes the last two games? That would be Kalin Lucas, the former MSU product who was in Bulls camp this fall. Lucas has certainly played well in these last two games, averaging 18.5 points and 6.0 assists while shooting 50.0 percent in 29.5 minutes per game. But ideally, Teague would be getting the bulk of the minutes no matter what. Because, you know, he was a first-round pick.
This again speaks to the problem of the Bulls not having their own D-League affiliate. Because the Bulls don't own the Energy, they can't dictate how the minutes are doled out. So there's no reason to just play Teague no matter what. If Lucas is playing better, why shouldn't he play more?
Of course, Teague could help fix this issue by actually outplaying Lucas, which he hasn't these past few games. Teague may just not be very good, although it would be nice to see him allowed to play through some of his mistakes in the D-League. But again, there's no reason for the Energy to allow him those extra opportunities if Lucas is playing better.
[Note by JayPatt, 01/03/14 2:01 PM CST: I missed this while writing, but apparently Teague "tweaked" an ankle at some point during his assignment, so that could somewhat explain the lack of minutes. Unclear when it happened. ]