Bulls pick Marquis Teague

Updated: June 29, 2012, 12:51 PM ET
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- The Chicago Bulls selected Kentucky freshman point guard Marquis Teague with the 29th pick in the first round of the NBA draft on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-2, 179-pound Teague averaged 9.4 points and a team-high 4.8 assists while helping Kentucky win a national championship last season. His brother, Jeff Teague, plays for the Atlanta Hawks.

"We were very excited that Marquis Teague was still on the board," Bulls general manager Gar Forman said. "Obviously, we feel we got a real value in this pick. He's a guy who was a starting point guard playing with five other NBA players and helped lead Kentucky to a national championship. He's a guy our scouting staff has watched and followed since high school."

With Derrick Rose recovering from a torn ACL and Luol Deng likely facing wrist surgery after the Olympics, the Bulls plugged a hole in their roster by drafting Teague.

"Obviously, it's going to take a number of guys to make up for the load we'll miss when Derrick's out," Forman said. "... The point guard is one of the positions we still need to address as we go into free agency. That's something we'll look at starting on Sunday (the beginning of free agency)."

The Bulls were linked to several combo guards such as Kentucky teammate Doron Lamb (a second-round pick of the Milwaukee Bucks), Oregon State's Jared Cunningham (taken 24th by the Cleveland Cavaliers) and Vanderbilt's John Jenkins (picked 23rd by the Atlanta Hawks), but Forman found value at No. 29 in Teague.

"I think (what) we feel he gives us is another guy who can break defenses down, that can get into the paint and make plays for himself and others," Forman said. "All the reports, all the background that we did on him, everybody said he's very, very competitive. He's a winner. That's something you guys know over the years we've stressed.

"When we've had opportunities to get guys that we feel will fit in our organization and team that come from high profile winning programs that have experienced winning. He's got great speed and quickness, and we think a very, very high ceiling. We thought a value to get Marquis at the 29th pick."

Aside from injuries, the Bulls face an uncertain summer. Forman must decide whether to bring back Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer and C.J. Watson. Deng must make his decision regarding wrist surgery. Joakim Noah must fully recover from an ankle injury and then try to stay healthy during his Olympic stint with France.

Forman also must decide how to fill the rest of his roster given the uneasiness from the organization as to whether it wants to go into the luxury tax. Forman has made it clear he wants to re-sign restricted free agent Omer Asik, but depending on the price he has to pay the Bulls would be right up against the threshold.

The Bulls also must keep a close eye on Rose throughout the summer as he continues to rehab from knee surgery. If Forman decides not to bring back Watson, he must figure out where he will find a starting point guard from the free agent market. John Lucas III is an option, but Forman likely will try and upgrade the position.

Could the 19-year-old Teague be a starting option at point guard with Rose out?

"He's going to make a big adjustment going from college to the pros," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "The first part is learning how to be a pro. It's going to be based on performance. He has to learn our system, learn our league and we'll see where we are."

The Bulls have drafted at No. 29 in three previous drafts. They selected Travis Knight in 1996, Toni Kukoc in 1990 and Larry Micheaux in 1983.

ESPNChicago.com's Nick Friedell contributed to this report.

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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