- Nick Friedell, Chicago Bulls beat reporter
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DEERFIELD, Ill. -- General manager Gar Forman seemed genuinely surprised that Marquis Teague was still available for the Chicago Bulls to select him with the 29th pick in the NBA draft Thursday night. While it's way too early to know whether the 19-year-old point guard is going to be a late-round steal for Forman and Co., here are a few things we can glean from the selection:
Teague will get a chance to play: While Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau understandably didn't sound like a man who would start Teague on opening night -- no matter how well he plays in summer league or in training camp -- he did sound like a coach who would give the young rookie a chance to play if he earned it. With Derrick Rose recovering from knee surgery and C.J. Watson’s uncertain contract status, plenty of fans are already wondering if Teague could get the call on opening night. Given Thibodeau's track record, that would be a major stretch. The one thing that both Thibodeau and Bulls GM Gar Forman harped on was Teague's championship experience at Kentucky. The pair discussed Teague, and his readiness for the NBA, earlier in the day with Kentucky coach John Calipari. Obviously, they liked what they heard. While Teague, whose brother Jeff plays for the Atlanta Hawks, may not play right away, he will get the chance early on if he proves to Thibodeau he can handle minutes in a backup role.
Bye-bye Watson and Lucas?: The fact that the Bulls drafted Teague likely means that either Watson, or John Lucas III -- or both -- could be gone before the beginning of next season. Watson has a $3.2 million team option that Forman must decide whether to pick up within the next week or so. And Lucas is an unrestricted free agent. While it was never a sure thing that both would return, Teague's arrival means that at least one likely will be gone. In an interview with ESPN 1000, Lucas didn't sound like a man who was ready to turn in his swipe card to the Berto Center on Thursday night, and Watson has said repeatedly that he would love to stay in Chicago. But the Bulls are going to look hard at veteran point guards in the free agent market, and if they feel as if they can get a better deal, Watson and Lucas will be jettisoned as the Bulls wait for Rose to heal.
How does Teague's arrival impact everybody else?: Many figured the Bulls would go after a combo guard in the draft to replace the hole that figures to be open if Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer don't return. While Forman kept all his options open as far as retaining both veteran swingmen, the odds are still high that neither will return given the Bulls' uneasiness about not going that far into the luxury tax. While the Bulls might have filled a need with Teague, they left another one open in trying to get depth for the 2-3 position. Luol Deng is still expected to have surgery after the Olympics which would put him out for three to four months. Richard Hamilton just finished a season in which he could barely stay on the floor because of various injuries. The Bulls will undoubtedly look at various options for that position in the next few weeks, but one of the happiest people (for the moment) about Teague's arrival has to be second-year guard/forward Jimmy Butler. Last year’s first-round pick is going to get a long look from Thibodeau for more minutes, and now he doesn't have to worry about another rookie trying to take his time in the rotation. The Bulls might add a veteran in the coming weeks, but Butler has to feel pretty good they didn't add somebody else on draft night.
Bulls GM Gar Forman joined Nick Friedell and Chuck Swirsky to discuss the Bulls drafting Marquis Teague and the offseason ahead.
What does the Marquis Teague pick mean for the other Bulls point guards?