Marquis Teague has been terrific in the Las Vegas Summer League, even though he had a moderately disappointing rookie campaign. Teague is averaging an encouraging 18.3 PPG, 4.3 APG and 2.3 RPG thus far this summer and has drawn many compliments on his improved shooting, ability to get to the basket, and intuitive passes. Regardless, it’s summer league. Crazy shit happens all the time, and usually only a very small handful of players will play important roles on their respective teams. However, we can still take some things away from summer league play.
Last year, Jimmy Butler began his breakout campaign by dominating the summer league. He got to the rim with ease, shut down any opponent in front of him and even started shooting the ball better. Believe it or not, these are the exact improvements Butler made over the course of his first full season in the Bulls rotation. Clearly, in this case, Butler’s improvement was signaled by his strong summer play. It’s worth pointing out that Butler was drafted in 2011, the year of the lockout, and thus missed out on an entire off-season of NBA training and summer league play before his rookie year.
Teague, on the other hand, played summer league prior to his rookie season. And he struggled, badly. He followed that up with an uninspiring first season, but he showed some potential to defend and penetrate. This summer, however, Teague is dominating the summer league and looks eons more confident than he did running the point for Chicago this year. Obviously the quality of talent is much lower, but there’s a few things to keep in mind about Teague:
-He’s just 20 years old, making him one of the youngest players in the summer leagues. I’m literally 16 months older than him.
-His brother Jeff, who just signed for $32 million and gave Derrick Rose fits in the 2011 playoffs, is 25. Keep in mind that Jeff received barely any playing time until Kirk Hinrich (yup, LOL) went down in 2011 and was the breakout star of the early rounds of the playoffs. Also, Marquis was considered a better prospect than Jeff.
-He started every game for one of the best NCAA champions in the last 20 years.
Players take time to develop, especially skinny young guards. I was thrilled when the Bulls took Marquis in the 2012 draft. It’s not often that a team picking 29th gets to take a highly regarded prospect coming off a championship run. If he develops into something like his brother, the Bulls will have a terrific young back-up to their MVP and some healthy trade bait.
Other assorted Summer League notes
- Malcolm Thomas, who was terrific for the Bulls in last years’ summer league, is leading the league in rebounding with 15.0 RPG. He’s polished inside, boxes out, and plays defense. Count me all aboard the Malcolm Thomas to Chicago train.
- Erik Murphy, the Bulls 2nd round pick, broke his nose and was sporting a vicious black eye last night. Regardless, he didn’t even wear a mask to play. I like this guy’s toughness–hopefully he can contribute.
- Andrew Goudelock belongs on an NBA roster, but I don’t think it’ll be in Chicago. He’s a cute bench scorer though.