Many incoming NBA rookies taken in the later stages of the first round do not get the chance to develop because they join an already-talented squad. However, there are times when a key injury can pave the way for such a rookie to get the chance to play the minutes he needs for his maturity.
That is the situation Marquis Teague finds himself in with the Chicago Bulls thanks to the injury suffered by Derrick Rose.
Teague and Rose have styles similar to one another, and they also played for the same coach—John Calipari. Each is a high-energy point guard who relies on his speed and athleticism to make plays, and both still have a ways to go in terms of becoming an elite passing point guard. The similarities are uncanny, and it makes sense why the Bulls would want Teague on their squad.
Teague will benefit from playing with Rose in a system that allows and thrives upon their style of play. However, he will benefit even more during Rose’s absence, when he is able to play more minutes and fill that role .
Too Crowded for Comfort
If Derrick Rose had been healthy, not only would Marquis Teague not have been able to look forward to any playing time, but also the Chicago Bulls probably would never have drafted him. They understand that they will need all the help they can get, so they figured on getting a player very similar to Rose in the draft to help fill those minutes.
Right now, Kirk Hinrich and Nate Robinson will also be helping fill those minutes. Teague has superior athleticism to each of them, but Rose’s presence would have relegated him to a significantly reduced role. Thanks to his injury, Teague now has a really solid shot at playing significant minutes for the Bulls during the 2012-13 NBA season.
Speed and Athleticism
As I stated before, Rose and Teague are very similar basketball players, especially when it comes to the similarly dynamic athleticism they bring to their teams. Their games are predicated on using that athleticism and speed to get to the rim at will against opponents, and then capitalizing on that ability by penetrating and dishing.
Check out this video of some of Rose’s best highlights:
Now watch these highlights of Teague, and notice how he uses his athleticism in very much the same way Rose does:
Each player uses his incredible speed and natural athleticism to create major mismatches in his one-on-one matchup. Then, that leads to an easy basket for him or a dish to a teammate who is now open because the defense has to help.
This similarity in their styles of play will allow Teague to be able to grow in Rose’s absence. The team is built around having a point guard who plays in that style, and Teague plays in the same way. Do not get me wrong, Teague is not the same caliber of player as Rose is. Not even close. However, he does play with the same energy and intensity.
John Calipari has been one of the best recruiters and coaches that college basketball has ever seen. He recruited both of these players and both played very well for him during their respective seasons on his teams. That similar background also adds to the idea that Teague will flourish in the same system as Rose, because he already has before in college. Rose’s absence from the Bulls system is important because it gives Teague the room to grow.
Marquis Teague and Derrick Rose are teammates now, and they probably do not wish to be compared. It is not much of a comparison in terms of talent, anyway. However, the comparison of the two is significant in the wake of Rose’s injury, because his injury will allow Teague to be able to learn how to play as he does in the Bulls offense.
A year into the league—heading into the 2013-14 season—Teague will be Rose’s primary backup.
Playing without Rose to start the 2012-13 season will be a major reason why.
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