The Chicago Bulls officially open their training camp today, and it mercifully ends what was undoubtedly the most frustrating offseason in recent history. From Derrick Rose’s savage injury which kicked off the whole mess and cast a dark cloud over everything, to broken promises and the gutting of the NBA’s best bench, this offseason hasn’t set up the best expectations for the 2013 season.
But that’s all int he past and we need to live with what the Bulls did and have on roster. Old faces have returned, fan favorites have left and new names are on the bench. Last time there was little to no expectations entering a Bulls season, they came within three games of their first NBA Finals berth since 1997-98. There’s no reason to believe that will happen again, but there’s also no reason to fully write the Bulls off just yet.
How will Marquis Teague be Used?
When the Bulls went on the clock with the 29th overall pick in the NBA Draft, everyone suspected they’d take a shooting guard to groom for the future to run along side Derrick Rose when he returns. Instead the Bulls drafted Kentucky point guard Marquis Teague and the head scratching began.
On the surface, the Bulls blew the pick by passing on solid two guard talent. But unbeknownst to us at the time, the Bulls had already made peace with cutting C.J. Watson and they were actually drafting his replacement.
That leads us to beg the question: where will Teague end up? Aggery Sam has mentioned that it wouldn’t be surprising to see Teague land in the D-League for a chunk of this season, as he’s still incredibly raw. He could start the season coming off the bench since the Bulls are thin at point guard, but with Nate Robinson and Kirk Hinrich Chicago could decide Teague is best served learning in the D-League.
Teague will be the new C.J. Watson to the Bulls, but that might not happen until deep into the season at the very least. Don’t expect Teague to step up and contribute until next season at least but it will be interesting to see where his path leads him and where that path goes.
Will the Bulls offer Malcolm Thomas a Contract?
In the Las Vegas Summer League, two players stood out: Jimmy Butler and Malcolm Thomas. Butler is already looking to contribute to the team in his second year with the Bulls, but Thomas was a pleasant surprise and talks of signing the D-League star started almost immediately.
If he was offered a contract, Thomas could step in and backup both Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer/Taj Gibson.
Chicago could use depth behind Deng, and they could really use Thomas’ defensive presence after losing Omer Asik and Ronnie Brewer. Brewer wasn’t the most offensive player off the bench, but he was able to come in and defend, while Asik was able to gobble up rebounds.
Thomas showed he could not only do both of those things in Summer League, but he showed an ability to be a contributor on offense, racking up double-double in just about every game. He wouldn’t command a high salary and he’d fill immediate needs. Plus, Tom Thibodeau was thoroughly impressed with Thomas at the Summer League which in Chicago is the highest vote of confidence you can receive.