Posts Tagged ‘Marquis Teague’

Morning shootaround — Oct. 25

VIDEO: Daily Zap for games played Oct. 24


Rondo possible for opener | No start, no extension for Cavs’ Thompson | Injuries put Magic development on hold | Pelicans pass on Rivers’ option?

No. 1: Rondo possible for opener — When Rajon Rondo broke his left hand four days before training camp opened, it was projected that he’d miss the start of the season (and maybe a full month). But the Celtics’ point guard was cleared for practice on Friday and could be in the lineup when the team tips off the season against Brooklyn on Wednesday. ESPN‘s Chris Forsberg has the story:

Rondo is expected to have the bone reevaluated by team doctors early next week and could gain the necessary clearance to participate in Wednesday’s season-opener against the Brooklyn Nets.

“It’s not my call, that’s the way I look at it,” Stevens said Thursday. “When [team trainer] Ed [Lacerte] tells me that someone is ready to play, that’s the go-ahead to let them play. And I wouldn’t rush it. I would not be up here and say, ‘We really need this person on Tuesday night.’ It’s just the way it goes. I’m the son of a doctor, I get it. I realize I don’t know a lot when it comes to medicine. I let them do their job and they do a great job.”

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he knows Rondo is anxious, but the team won’t hesitate to put him on the floor once he’s cleared medically.

“I think he’ll fit right in,” Ainge said Thursday. ‘I think Rajon is in a great spot, mentally and physically. I can’t wait to see him play. He has a lot to prove; I see it in him. He’s just really dying to get out there and play. I’m excited for him, [that] he’ll probably be able to come back quicker than he thought originally.”


No. 2: No start, no extension for Cavs’ ThompsonTristan Thompson will be a key player as the Cleveland Cavaliers try to take over the Eastern Conference this season. But to start the year at least, Thompson will be coming off the bench behind Kevin Love and Anderson Varejao. And with less than a week before the Oct. 31 deadline, his agent, who happens to be LeBron James‘ agent, hasn’t talked with the Cavs about a contract extension, as Chris Haynes of Northeast Ohio Media Group writes:

Behind the scenes for Thompson, there’s not much happening.

The deadline for the Cavaliers and Thompson to agree to a rookie-scale extension is Oct. 31. That’s less than a week away and sources close to the situation says, “There has been zero discussion on an extension” between the two sides.

It’s no secret Thompson’s agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, also represents the one guy responsible for the bright lights returning to Quicken Loans Arena with the Cavaliers boasting a league-high 29 national televised games.

If a deal is not reached by the deadline, Thompson will become a restricted free agent in the summer of 2015. Cleveland would then retain the right to match an offer sheet to Thompson and they could also attempt to sign him themselves at that time.


No. 3: Injuries put Magic development on hold — Two years after the departure of Dwight Howard, it’s about time the Orlando Magic started moving forward. But it won’t be full steam ahead to start the season, with their big free agent aquisition, Channing Frye, out with a sprained knee and second-year guard Victor Oladipo now sidelined with a facial fracture. Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel details the carnage:

The knee injuries to Oladipo and Frye cost them the preseason and further complicate a brutally difficult start: 16 of the Magic’s first 23 games are on the road.

The Magic might have wanted to downplay or even dismiss the draft lottery this season. But recovering from, say, a 6-17 start might be impossible psychologically for a young team.

Runner-up in rookie-of-the-year voting this past season, Oladipo was focusing on playing the off-guard spot, his natural position.

The Magic had experimented with him at point guard, but drafting Elfrid Payton signaled the club’s intent to establish an Oladipo-Payton backcourt. Now that is on a longer hold.


No. 4: Pelicans pass on Rivers’ option? — The Pelicans announced Friday that they have exercised the fourth-year option on Anthony Davis, the most obvious transaction of the preseason. But they didn’t announce the same regarding Austin Rivers, who was taken nine spots after Davis in the 2012 Draft. They still have a few days to make a final decision on Rivers, but it appears that he will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. John Reid of The Times Picayune writes how Rivers has failed to develop quickly enough for the Pels:

If Rivers’ option is not extended, he could become an unrestricted free agent next summer. A source said they decided to hold off exercising Rivers’ option because of salary cap concerns, especially if Eric Gordon decides to opt in to his contract next season that will pay him $15.5 million. The Pelicans also are expected to make a push this summer to re-sign center Omer Asik, whom they acquired in a trade last summer from the Houston Rockets.

If the Pelicans had exercised the fourth-year option on Rivers’ contract, his salary would have increased from $2.4 million this season to $3.1 million for the 2015-16 season.

Although he was a lottery pick, Pelicans coach Monty Williams said during training camp that Rivers remains a developing player. He is expected to be in a battle for minutes off the bench at both guard spots with Jimmer Fredette, who emerged in the preseason after signing a one-year contract with the franchise this summer.


SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: The Knicks may have settled on a starting lineupLionel Hollins thinks Brook Lopez will be available for that Nets-Celtics opener in Boston … The Thunder’s Anthony Morrow is out 4-6 weeks with a sprained MCL in his left knee … The Lakers aren’t in a rush to add a point guard to replace Steve NashThe Suns went to a three-PG lineup to beat the Jazz … and The Sixers got a 2019 second round pick for taking Marquis Teague‘s guaranteed contract off the Nets’ hands.

ICYMI of The Night: With a week left to work out a possible contract extension with the Warriors, Klay Thompson tied the preseason high for points in a game by dropping 35 on the Nuggets:

VIDEO: Thompson Goes Off For 35

Morning shootaround — Oct. 24

VIDEO: Daily Zap for games played Oct. 23


No matter what, Nash’s legacy is safe | Stephenson on Pacers: ‘I wanted to be there’  | Smith struggling to grasp triangle | Report: Sixers working to land Nets’ Teague

No. 1: Nash’s legacy safe, even if his career is over — Fans of the NBA (and standout offensive play from point guards) are no doubt upset this morning after last night’s news broke that former two-time MVP Steve Nash‘s 2014-15 season is done even before it began. Lingering issues with various back injuries have sidelined the L.A. Lakers point guard for this season and, based on the buzz around the NBA, perhaps his career. If this is indeed the last we’ve seen of Nash, though, his last few injury-prone seasons in Lakerland won’t tarnish the Hall of Fame legacy he’s crafted, writes our own Scott Howard-Cooper:

This changes nothing, and this changes everything.

Steve Nash was locked in as a first-ballot Hall of Famer years ago, one of the stars of a generation and one of the standout point guards of any era. So, the agonizing slow leak into retirement — after Thursday’s announcement of Nash missing the entire 2014-15 season with a nerve issue — of what will become three consecutive seasons with serious injuries will not dent his legacy. He got old, not bad.

But what an insightful few years it was. We didn’t get to see Nash close to his best in L.A., what the Lakers hoped for when they sent a couple first-round picks, including the choice that is top-five protected in 2015, and a couple seconds to Phoenix in July 2012, but it was the best of Nash in some ways. The passion to play, the determination to work back instead of taking early retirement and a golden parachute — it was as telling in a strange way as any of the countless accomplishments on the court.

He was always faking people out like that. Nash didn’t have much of a future coming out of high school in the charming Vancouver suburb of Victoria, and then he turned one NCAA Division I scholarship offer, to Santa Clara, into being drafted in the first round and a career that would have reached Season 19 in 2014-15. He didn’t have the athleticism to hang with the speed point guards, and then he surgically steered the Phoenix jet offense of the Seven Seconds Or Less Days, running everyone else into the ground as it turned out. Now, at what by every indication is the end, although the Lakers have only said he is done for the season, Nash discovered a new way to impress.

And if anything, Nash was underrated on offense — which is saying something considering the praise he earned. But to trigger one of the game’s lethal pick-and-roll games (particularly with superb finisher Amar’e Stoudemire) and also succeed in the high-octane offenses of coaches Mike D’Antoni and Alvin Gentry as the Suns reached the Western Conference finals is a note few point guards can reach. He was never a food defender who could get in the conversation with, say, John Stockton or Gary Payton as all-time great two-way point guards. But Nash with the ball was still a clinic.

That’s Nash’s direct impact. His final legacy, though, won’t be known for years, maybe even for a decade.

VIDEO: Steve Nash will not play for the L.A. Lakers in 2014-15


Blogtable: Your Advice For The Bulls?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Who is the East’s best PG? | Your advice for Chicago? | Thoughts on Kobe’s extension?

Any advice for the Bulls? What do they do short-term and long-term?

VIDEO: The Beat crew reacts to Derrick Rose’s season-ending knee surgery

Steve Aschburner, Short-term, I’d encourage the Bulls to play mind games or whatever else it takes to minimize the debilitating mental effect of losing Rose for a second consecutive season. As in: Go one game at a time. Divide it in two (Rose’s impact really won’t be missed defensively). Then divvy up his FGAs and pretend he’s only out that night. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s the only way to survive another plugger season of smaller ambitions. Long term? Don’t give up on a former MVP who will be, after all, returning from a meniscus repair, not another ACL. Rose might need to dial down his explosiveness and cuts, adding more floor-bound game, but he still is likely to be an All-Star worth building around.

Fran Blinebury, Short term, suck it up, get over the shock and get back to being the gritty bunch from last season. Going into next year, I’d commit to Luol Deng, move Carlos Boozer and try to find some offensive punch to put in the backcourt next to Rose when he returns. And, oh yes, settle whatever differences exist in the front office and make sure that Tom Thibodeau is content to continue coaching in Chicago for a long time.

Jeff Caplan, Unless you can find a miracle and get a taker for Carlos Boozer‘s massive salary, buckle up and get ready to scrap, scrap, scrap. I just don’t know if this team can go through that mental grind again for an entire season. It’s so much to ask. This summer, Boozer can be amnestied and other moves made. I wouldn’t overreact right now and potentially make a regrettable move.

Scott Howard-Cooper, Keep doing what they’re doing. They have a star coach, some good players and very bad luck. It’s not like the Bulls are going to make a trade to replace Derrick Rose, by moving him (obviously) or bringing in a years-long replacement, so push on. Don’t tank. Don’t dump players they would not have otherwise. They will still defend at a very high level and they will still make the playoffs.

John Schuhmann, Remain flexible. If the right opportunity (one where you can gather assets) comes along, they should trade anybody on their roster not named Rose, Butler or Noah. But they also should be content with keeping their core intact and even bringing Luol Deng back next summer (at the right price). Deng, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson will all still be on the right side of 30 at the start of next season, while Rose, Jimmy Butler and Nikola Mirotic (who remains in Europe at the time) will be just 26, 25 and 23, respectively. Even if the Heat keep their Big Three together, their supporting cast is getting older, and the right pieces around the Bulls’ core would be enough to keep pace with Miami and Indiana.

Sekou Smith, Take the Thanksgiving holiday to step back and breathe a little bit before diving into anything. When the Bulls’ brain trust reconvenes, it’s time to seriously consider moving up the timetable on the roster reshuffling that was coming this summer anyway. They have the cloak of the Rose injury to help cover them in the event of a mistake. Whatever they do will be covered by that fact. Now is the time to explore all trade options for Luol Deng, who I’d shop to Oklahoma City for a package deal that includes Reggie Jackson, an ideal young point guard who can get Chicago through whatever rough patches lies ahead as D-Rose recovers. My short-term plan would be to tweak the supporting cast with more dynamic talent than what’s on hand at several positions. Long-term, you pray to Naismith and the rest of the basketball gods that Rose returns as at least some semblance of the MVP Bulls fans came to adore. There’s no sugar-coating the fact that there is tons of work to be done.

Lang Whitaker,’s All Ball blog: What do they do now? They keep playing defense, defense, defense, and Thibs keeps screaming until his voice sounds like sandpaper, and more than anything else, they keep playing harder than their opponent is playing. We saw how far the Bulls can get on grit and hustle last season in the playoffs. In the Eastern Conference, a team with Noah, Deng, Butler, Boozer, Hinrich, Dunleavy and Gibson is at the very least a playoff team. Of course, Rose is that catalyst that makes them a title contender, and without him the expectations change. But that doesn’t mean this Bulls team can’t at least make some noise both in the regular and postseason. And as for long term, they wait for Rose to get back and get healthy. Not much else you can do.

Davide Chinellato, NBA Italia: Short term: tanking is not an option, so keep what you have and try to make the playoffs like you did last year. Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli, two key players for the Bulls who went to the second round last year, are gone, but the core is still intact. Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah are great players. Long term: give Rose another chance, let Deng go and amnesty Boozer. You can rebuild with Rose, Noah, Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler while going after a top free agent. The Bulls can have a bright future.

Aldo Aviñante, NBA Philippines: If they can buy low, in terms of the contracts of their impending free agents, I think they should, because if (a big if) they are healthy they’re a legitimate contender for the throne. Their core has had only one crack. That complete lineup took them all the way to the East finals, and if they just rebuild again it might bite them in the future. But if they can get a little younger without yielding too much talent, they should also stay open to the possibility of retooling instead of overhauling the whole roster.

Robinson On Rose-Less Bulls: ‘They’ll Figure Out A Way To Win’


DALLAS — Back in Chicago for a late October preseason game, Nuggets guard Nate Robinson acknowledged how much he missed his old Bulls teammates with whom he’d been through so much during last season’s inspiring and trying ride without Derrick Rose.

Exactly a month later, with Rose having undergone season-ending knee surgery Monday, it’s the Bulls who might miss Robinson more than they could have imagined.

An important offensive spark and a big-shot maker during his one season with Chicago, Robinson never got the chance to play with Rose. Just four nights ago, he faced off against him in Denver, going for 11 points and three assists to help his new club beat the Bulls by 10. The next night at Portland, Rose tore the meniscus in his right knee just 10 games into his return from the torn ACL in his left knee that kept him out all of last season.

“Sad,” Robinson told Monday night as the Nuggets prepared to face the Dallas Mavericks. “It’s sad for me, it’s sad for him, I know for sure. My son was really sad about it because he loved Derrick Rose. He got a picture with him last year. He was so excited.”

The entire NBA was excited to have Rose, the 2010-11 league MVP, back in action. Suddenly, and sadly, everybody’s wondering if Chicago can reset again without their star point guard and grind out another season without him. That process has started excruciatingly slow in the immediate aftermath. On Sunday in Los Angeles, the Clippers hammered the Bulls by 39 points, 121-82. Playing at one-win Utah on Monday, the Bulls struggled again, losing, 89-83 to the Jazz in OT.

“It’s tough. It’s definitely going to hurt them, but they’re tough, man,” Robinson said. “They’ll figure out a way to win. They always do.”

They’ll have to do it without the bolt of energy that is the 5-foot-9 Robinson, who produced one of those familiar scoring flurries in Dallas with 17 points, 13 coming in the fourth quarter that included three 3-pointers to help the Nuggets get a 110-96 road win. With Chicago, Robinson averaged 25.4 mpg and played in all 82 games for the injury-riddled squad. He averaged 13.1 ppg and 4.4 apg for the Bulls, and 16.3 ppg during their gritty playoff run into the East semifinals that included an unforgettable 34-point explosion in the triple-overtime Game 4 win in the first round against the Nets.

Robinson started 23 games and was indispensable to Chicago’s success considering Kirk Hinrich, who again takes over as the starting point guard, played in just 60 games last season.

In Sunday’s loss to the Clippers, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau started Mike Dunleavy alongside Hinrich with regular starter Jimmy Butler (sprained big toe) still injured. Monday night at Utah, Thibodeau gave rookie Tony Snell the start. At the point, Chicago also has veteran journeyman Mike James and second-year point guard Marquis Teague, who played in 48 games last season and had played in just half of the Bulls’ first 12 games.

Considering the circumstance, Robinson, who signed a two-year, $4.1-million free-agent deal with the Nuggets, would likely again be counted on as a big-minute contributor in Chicago. But he’s long gone.

“I don’t know what they need. I don’t know nothing about it,” Robinson said of the Bulls’ predicament. “I know these guys here, I got their backs, my new teammates.”

It hasn’t been instant success start for Robinson, 29, in Denver, which has a glut of backcourt players with Randy Foye starting alongside Ty Lawson, and a bench that includes veteran Andre Miller, who still logs 18.9 mpg, plus second-year swingman Evan Fournier. New coach Brian Shaw is playing Robinson 16.9 mpg. He’s averaging 7.5 ppg and 2.3 apg. He’s shooting 34.4 percent from the floor, although 40.6 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.

After a sluggish start to the season, the up-tempo Nuggets are now 7-6 and on a three-game win streak as they adjust to Shaw’s more inside-out offensive approach. Forward Wilson Chandler recently returned to the lineup and at some point forward Danilo Gallinari will make his return from the ACL injury he sustained last April.

Still, the Nuggets are getting up and down the floor, a quick pace that seems a natural fit for the frenetic Robinson.

“I just like to play basketball,” he said.

Las Vegas Summer League: Day 5 Recap


LAS VEGAS With five days in the books, all 22 teams have now played three games each and it’s clear that players are starting to feel more comfortable with the action. Wednesday begins tournament play, with the top 10 teams receiving byes and the bottom 12 teams in action at Thomas & Mack and Cox Pavilion. Complete bracket information can be found here.

summer-league-logoNon-rookie of the day: Thomas Robinson, Trail Blazers. Portland’s offseason acquisition was a beast on the boards, finishing with 18 to go along with 12 points in the Blazers’ 80-78 overtime loss to the Bulls. Robinson was active and looked more like the lottery pick than the player that’s been dealt twice since being drafted by Sacramento at No. 5 in 2012.

Other notables: Marquis Teague, Bulls. Derrick Rose’s backup had his best scoring game yet, finishing with 25 points on 7-for-14 shooting, hitting all three 3-point attempts. Jonas Valanciunas, Raptors. For the third straight game, the Lithuanian big man was dominant inside, scoring 18 points and grabbing eight rebounds in Toronto’s 81-70 win over Sacramento. He did commit seven turnovers and had nine fouls (something that plagued him in his rookie season), but still looked like the best big man on the floor.

Rookie of the day: Ben McLemore, Kings. After two dismal shooting performances, the No. 7 pick’s shots were falling Tuesday as he finished with 26 points on a more respectable 8-for-14 shooting, which included him going 3-for-6 from beyond the arc. McLemore’s shot has looked good all week, but Tuesday he was more under control and it showed.

Other notables: Phoenix guard Archie Goodwin scored 22 points on 6-for-11 shooting in the Suns’ 100-88 win over the Grizzlies. The No. 29 overall pick hit all three of his 3-pointers in his best game yet in Las Vegas. C.J. McCollum started slow, but came on late to score 27 points, including a game-tying 3-pointer to send the game into overtime, where the Blazers would eventually lose to the Bulls 80-78.

Coming up: Tuesday was the final day of preliminary play. Now, teams will be seeded and placed in brackets for the tournament format leading to the championship game on July 22. Six games will be played Wednesday, beginning at 6 p.m. ET, which is a departure from the typical 4 p.m. ET start of the day in Las Vegas. Check for complete seeding and bracket information for the rest of the tournament.

Las Vegas Summer League: Day 2 Recap


LAS VEGASJonas Valanciunas looked like a man among boys Saturday night in Las Vegas.

The Raptors’ second-year big man was dominant early on, scoring 20 of his 23 points in the first half and grabbing seven rebounds in Toronto’s 81-72 loss to the Miami Heat in the final game of the day at the Las Vegas Summer League.

summer-league-logoValanciunas, who averaged 8.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in his rookie season in Toronto, looked noticeably bigger and showed off a polished interior game, getting to the rim repeatedly for highlight-reel dunks and putbacks. He was energetic, clapping and motivating his teammates, and ran the floor well in 26 minutes of action.

With a season under his belt, it looks like the 21-year-old could be ready to make a major step in his sophomore season.

Non-rookie of the day: Milwaukee sophomore John Henson had a monster game as the Bucks cruised to a win in their first action in Las Vegas. The Bucks’ second-year big man had 19 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks in just 20 minutes of action as the Bucks blew out Denver 88-74.

Other notables: Andrew Goudelock, Bulls. The reigning NBA D-League MVP who filled in for the banged-up Lakers in the playoffs, lit up the scoreboard with 26 points on 9-for-15 shooting, hitting 3-for-5 3-pointers in the Bulls’ 81-67 win over Memphis. Teammate Marquis Teague looked composed running the point, tallying 12 points and seven assists in the victory. Tony Wroten, Grizzlies. The second-year guard out of Washington did a little of everything with 17 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals in Memphis’ 81-67 loss to the Bulls.

Rookie of the day: C.J. McCollum, Trail Blazers. The Lehigh product scored 15 of his 22 points in the first half of the Blazers’ 82-69 loss to the Suns in his first action since being taken 10th overall in the 2013 Draft. McCollum also had three rebounds and four assists while going 9-for-19 from the field (2-for-5 on 3s). The 6-foot-3 point guard showed off a quick first step and a killer crossover before stepping back for one of his two 3s on the night.

Other notables: Sacramento rookie Drew Gordon had 17 points and 10 rebounds in 24 minutes. Gordon, who went undrafted in 2012 out of New Mexico and spent last season with Partizan Belgrade, was 7-for-12 from the floor, missing all three of his 3-point attempts. Also notching a double-double was Butler product Matt Howard, who is getting a shot with the Grizzlies after playing overseas the past two seasons. Howard finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds in 24 minutes of action.

Coming up: All 16 teams in action on Sunday have now played one game in Las Vegas. The Knicks and Wizards – and No. 3 overall pick Otto Porter, who had seven points on 3-for-13 shooting in his debut – tip things off at 4 p.m. ET while the Spurs and Raptors close things out at 10:30 ET in the Thomas & Mack Center. All games can be seen on NBA TV or online with Summer League Live.

Bulls’ Rookie Teague Passes Test In Rondo ‘Reboot’

CHICAGO – Six years ago, a slender point guard hit the NBA as a late first-round draft pick out of Kentucky, toting a bag of confidence along that seemed bigger than he was. Rajon Rondo took his lumps on a bad Boston Celtics team for a year, then began his climb through a championship season in 2007-08, all the way to premier status among the league’s playmakers.

Against the Celtics Monday night at Chicago’s United Center, a slender point guard who’d arrived late in the first round from Kentucky, with a similar oversized bag of confidence, stepped onto the floor against the great Rondo. Marquis Teague and his team didn’t win – Boston shot 60 percent in the first half, then protected its lead late for a 101-95 victory – but the kid went breakthrough.

Rondo was lethal, with 20 points on 10-of-16 shooting, nine rebounds, 10 assists and five steals. But Teague played the entire fourth quarter in place of Nate Robinson – both of them were subbing for Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich – and repeatedly had the ball and the game in his hands over the final nine minutes.

“That is the first step,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “[Leandro] Barbosa and Rondo are super-quick. I like that match up for Marquis. He got us playing with energy.”

Through Chicago’s first six games, Teague had logged a total of 10 minutes. In this one, the rookie – he’s listed at a preposterous 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds – played 18, made one of his four shots, got to the line a couple of times, pilfered three rebounds, had two assists and a turnover and scored five points.

He seems more mild-mannered than Rondo, yet was just as oblivious to the pedigree matched up against him. Whether that meant chasing Rondo on the perimeter or taking the ball into the paint strong, right up into Kevin Garnett‘s grill.

“I don’t think it’s any fun to play against Rondo whether you’re a 10-year guy or a 1-year guy,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said. “Y’know, Teague is a tough kid. I’ve watched him  play for a long time because him and Austin [Rivers, New Orleans rookie and the coach’s son] played AAU against each other. I thought he handled it pretty well.”

No biggie for Teague, whose brother Jeff is the Atlanta Hawks’ starting point guard. Growing up in Indianapolis, Teague faced top competition in and outside his family (Boston’s Courtney Lee, for instance), and of course he was part of Kentucky’s NCAA title team last spring.

“My whole life,” the Chicago guard said when asked if he’d had nights like Monday. “I’m not really fazed by the situation I’m in. It doesn’t matter to me. I’ve played in a lot of big games in my life. So it’s just another game.”

Rondo, now a three-time All-Star and a possible MVP candidate this season, wasn’t surprised by a thing Teague did. Taking it at Garnett? “Nobody’s, like, scared of anyone,” Rondo said. “He went in and attacked the basket. He made the right play.”

Teague even had the temerity to think he was getting an “and-1” when the whistle blew. But no, he was cited for fending off Garnett with his left arm.

Just following Thibodeau’s orders, Teague said later. Use his speed. Play aggressive.

“My confidence is the same,” he said. “Never [down]. It’s always going to be there. I’m a basketball player. That’s how I feel.”

Competitive as he is, Rondo initially was stingy in assessing Teague’s play. Then he opened up: “He’s been a winner all his life – he won at Kentucky. So I don’t think he’s short on confidence. He was ready when his number was called. He got to the cup a couple of times, drew some fouls in crunch-time minutes. For a player that young, your confidence just grows and grows. I’m sure he’s going to continue to work ‘cuz you never know. Just like Kirk got hurt and D. Rose is out to start…”

Teague’s upside this season is modest enough – he might be angling for a bigger role as one of the Bulls’ placeholders till Rose returns from knee rehab. But Rondo wasn’t taking any chances. The Boston guard said he didn’t offer any tips or wisdom to the fellow former Wildcat.

There is no higher praise.

Marquis Teague Feeling Backup Pressure


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.”

Bulls’ Rose ‘Ahead Of Schedule?’

Derrick Rose might be ahead of schedule in his recovery from ACL surgery, which might be great news for the Chicago Bulls and their fans.

Or, and this is entirely possible too, this might be horrible news cloaked as great news if it tempts Rose or the Bulls to unnecessarily fast-track his return and jeopardize things far greater than a few victories, some ticket sales or even a playoff spot next season.

This has been the summer of glum in Chicago, in terms of the Bulls’ offseason work in generating excitement for the coming year. The selection at No. 29 in the Draft of Kentucky point guard Marquis Teague – a player to sub for Rose eventually, rather than help alongside him – didn’t move many folks’ needles. Nor did the signing of alum Kirk Hinrich, a combo guard who came cheaply enough (“mini” mid-level exception) but seems like a one- or two-round guy rather than a championship piece.

Every day that forward Luol Deng spends with Great Britain’s national team for the London Olympics is a day lost from his expected surgery and recovery from the torn ligaments in his left wrist (Deng has that on indefinite hold). Also, management’s hardline approach to the Bulls’ bench — maybe matching Houston’s offer to Omer Asik but waving goodbye to C.J. Watson, Ronnie Brewer and possibly Kyle Korver and John Lucas III — struck Bulls fans as moves to save money rather than win playoff series. This all while talks over a contract extension for coach Tom Thibodeau have dragged on (nothing urgent, but still another mild downer).

Now we’ve got Reggie Rose, brother and manager of the 2011 MVP, reporting in from Los Angeles (where Rose lives in the summer) to that little bro’ might be capable of coming back sooner than expected. The timeline put on Rose by surgeon Brian Cole was “eight to 12 months” from the moment of his repair. Eight would have Rose back sometime around the New Year, 12 would wipe all of 2012-13 off the board for him. (more…)

Bulls Go Back To Future With Hinrich

CHICAGO – Everything old is new again, the saying goes, or if we’re tailoring it for this NBA free-agency offseason, everyone old is new again. Or being passed off as new.

In a summer when Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and Ray Allen have grabbed headlines for changing teams — via deals agreed to, since nothing actually can get signed until Wednesday – Kirk Hinrich is a two-fer among the veteran backcourt players. Hinrich is switching teams and returning to his NBA roots, signing a two-year deal with the Chicago Bulls according to multiple reports.

Hinrich, who will be receive the “mini” mid-level exception of about $3 million annually available to teams at or above the luxury-tax threshold, was picked seventh overall out of Kansas by Chicago in the talent-rich 2003 NBA Draft. He started for the first time as a Bull on Nov. 8, 2003, in a lineup with Donyell Marshall, Eddy Curry, Kendall Gill and Eddie Robinson. Playing first for coach Bill Cartwright and later Scott Skiles, Hinrich averaged 12.0 points and 6.8 assists as a 38.6 percent shooter.

He improved his field-goal accuracy, though not by much lately (41.4 percent in 48 appearances with Atlanta last season). But his value to the Bulls is said to be his ability to man both backcourt spots; he can start in place of injured Derrick Rose for half the 2012-13 season or longer, then log minutes at shooting guard whenever Rose returns from his torn-ACL knee rehabilitation. Also, even at age 31, Hinrich’s defense is sticky enough to please Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.