The Bulls selected point guard Marquis Teague with the 29th pick in the NBA draft Thursday night.
Teague, 19, averaged 10.0 points and 4.8 assists per game last season for a Kentucky squad which won the NCAA championship in April. Obviously, the Bulls are looking for point guard help with Derrick Rose expected to miss roughly half of the 2012-13 season as he recovers from major knee surgery.
Here's the problem with this pick: Teague isn't NBA-ready in any way, shape or form. He played only one year of college, and he doesn't have even one skill that makes you think he'll be able to contribute immediately. He can't shoot, having made only 32.5 percent of his threes last season. Worse, he made only 28 percent of his shots from a spot-up position. This is a guy opposing defenses aren't going to guard on the perimeter. Teague's turnover count (3.3 per 40 minutes) was high at the college level, and most scouts will tell you he has a tendency to force the issue. Like a lot of 19-year-olds, he doesn't play with enough control.
That said, this isn't a horrible pick at No. 29. That late in the first round, your chances of getting a player who can make an immediate impact are slim and none. You want to find a guy with upside that you can develop. It's quite possible Teague fits that profile. He has great speed and athleticism. At 6-foot-2, he has good size for a point guard, and he is fast with the ball in his hands. He ran a pick-and-roll style offense in college, and that will serve him well in Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau's system. He just has a lot to learn about how to run a team -- the difference between a good shot and a bad shot, when to attack the rim, when to pull up and when to pass, etc. These are things that come with experience, and that's something Teague just doesn't have.
Simply put, this is one of those picks where fans must curb their enthusiasm. Teague might very well become a useful backup to Rose somewhere down the road. But if anyone thinks he can be the Bulls starting point guard while Rose recovers, they are fooling themselves. I'm cool with this pick as long as everyone understands exactly what Teague is -- a long-term project.