Last season was a roller coaster for Marquis Teague.
There were opportunities to play where he displayed flashes of being a pesky defender as well as the speed to collapse a defense and find the open man. But far too many times he was hesitant, tentative while trying to avoid turnover or disappointing his teammates.
“It was a learning experience,” said Teague on his rookie season where he averaged 2.1 points in 8.2 minutes in 48 games played. Teague stayed in Chicago over the summer, working with the coaching staff on his jumper as well as other aspects of his game. The results of the work showed in Summer League play as he looked more comfortable in his decision-making in attacking and distributing to as the Bulls second leading scorer (18.3) and fifth in Vegas in assists (4.8).
The 3.5 turnovers per game was more of a result of no chemistry with his teammates than his own mistakes and so far that play has continued during the first two days of training camp.
“He’s practiced a lot better already,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “This summer he put a lot of work in. I think it showed in the Summer League, and then he came back and continued to work. He worked all fall. I’m pleased thus far with his progress, he has to stay ready and keep improving.’’
Teague finds himself in a similar position that Jimmy Butler faced in his second year, coming into his second year after having played inconsistent minutes his first. With Kirk Hinrich being able to play both guard spots, it’s not hard to see Teague splitting some time backing up Derrick Rose this season. Playing time will still come based on his performance, but he’s finally fully comfortable.
“I know what to expect now. I’m not a deer in headlights,” Teague said. “I know what I’m going after and I know how to work to get to where I need to go. You don’t want anything handed to you. Everything you get, you’ve got to work for, especially playing for somebody like Thibs. You want to work for everything you get. That just pushes me to work even harder every day.”
“I’m confident in my abilities, so I’m always going to have my confidence, no matter if I’m playing a lot or not playing – you have to keep your confidence. If you’re scared out there, you’re not going to be successful out there at all. If you’re not confident in yourself, how’s your coach going to be confident in you?”