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Saturday, December 22, 2012
Jeff Teague happy brother landed with Bulls

By Nick Friedell

ATLANTA -- Out of all the places Marquis Teague could have fallen to in the NBA draft, the Chicago Bulls may have been the best team for him, according to his older brother Jeff.

Jeff Teague, a point guard for the Atlanta Hawks, is happy to finally get to face his brother in a professional game. He seems almost happier that his brother is getting to play for Tom Thibodeau and learn from veteran guards like Kirk Hinrich and Derrick Rose.

"I was actually glad he got drafted by the Bulls," Jeff said before Saturday's game. "It was going to make him work, and it was going to give him an opportunity to stay in the league. I know a lot of guys got drafted by certain teams and they're out of the league now ... and they came in with me.

“So I was just happy to go to an organization where they have a lot of hard workers, and it's all about hard work -- and that's going to help him in the long run."

Jeff always knew that Marquis had professional-level talent; it's just that, for a while, Jeff thought Marquis' profession might be football. Once Marquis got more into basketball, Jeff offered advice but mostly wanted his younger brother to learn on his own.

"He was really good at football," Jeff said. "I was never really a big football player, so me and him was going different ways. I was always at his games and seeing him play and things like that. But when he started playing basketball, I just wanted him to learn.

“Like my dad taught me and my older brother taught me, just go out there and go to battle yourself. When he asked me some questions, I answered them for him, but other than that, I just let him do [things]."

Once Marquis hit the basketball floor, Jeff knew it was only a matter of time before his younger brother jumped to the next level. He knew early on that Marquis, who he says is more emotional on the court, was good enough to play in the league.

"I went to a game, and he had like three dunks in a row with two hands -- in eighth grade," Jeff said. "I'm like, man, I couldn't even dunk when I was a freshman, so it's exciting to see him do that."

The siblings have kept in touch throughout the season, and Jeff can see the similarities between the start of his career and the start of his brother’s NBA experience.

"We didn't get to play much," Jeff said. "I just told him to stay focused and work hard and let them know that you want to be there and that you're always going to be ready, and he's been doing pretty good so far. Just always stay ready; you never know what's going to happen.

“When you get an opportunity, just always take full advantage of it. When he gets on the floor, I think he's played pretty well."

Thibodeau agreed that Marquis has performed solidly, but the veteran head coach doesn't believe the brothers have the same kind of game.

"It's hard to make comparisons in the league. The speed and quickness are similar. I think the fact that they both grew up around basketball -- their dad's a coach, a very good college player, I think," Thibodeau said. "But they're different. They're different players.

“Jeff has established himself as one of the bright young guards in the league. Each year he's gotten better. He's shooting the ball a lot better now. He can crack you off the dribble if your body position's not right. He can really hurt you, and he's got a lot of toughness to him."

Having said all that, Thibodeau likes the way Marquis has progressed and knows the brothers have some things in common.

"Marquis has shown a lot for a 19-year-old kid," Thibodeau said. "I like the way he's working. He's improving. In that sense, they are similar in that they have the right traits to improve."