LAS VEGAS – He is the just in case, at least the backup to the interim backup and possibly soon to be a notch lower than that, but it’s the Bulls and no one needs to remind them about worst-case scenarios.
Derrick Rose is out after knee surgery – hello, worst-case scenario – Kirk Hinrich is in as the starter, and Marquis Teague is somewhere down the line from there. Maybe he’s No. 2 behind Hinrich, the ex-Bull who returned this month as a free agent, and facing immediate expectations as a first-round draft choice trying to help replace an injured former MVP. Or maybe Chicago makes a move to add another point guard, a possibility, and Teague goes to No. 3.
There will be a spotlight either way, because it’s the Bulls, a title contender at full strength now hoping to come close to filling the void, and because Teague is coming off an important role on Kentucky’s national-championship squad.
“That’s a lot of pressure, playing behind Derrick Rose, playing behind one of the best point guards in the game,” Teague said. “He leads his team deep in the playoffs every year. That’s tough to play behind.”
And that’s in addition to the built-in transition of going from one season in college to the NBA. Plus, there were doubts around the league heading into the draft whether Teague could be a dependable playmaker as opposed to a scoring small guard who has to play the point at 6 feet 2 and 180 pounds.
“I know I’ve got an opportunity if I come in and perform,” the brother of Hawks guard Jeff Teague said. “I’ve got to show them I can play.”