Building the Chicago Bulls’ all-time draft bust starting lineup

Jay Williams, Chicago Bulls (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP via Getty Images)
Jay Williams, Chicago Bulls (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP via Getty Images) /
3 of 3
Marquis Teague, Chicago Bulls, Draft Busts
Marquis Teague, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Shooting Guard: Marquis Teague (2012, Pick #29)

It’s rare for a pick this late in the first round to ever be worth considering a draft bust, but Marquis Teague is the rare exception here for the Chicago Bulls. Marquis would play just three seasons in the league, averaging a pitiful 2.4 points and 1.5 assists in the NBA.

Marquis was so terrible, that the Bulls traded him away before his rookie contract was even halfway over for a guy named Tornike Shengelia, who would only play 17 total minutes with the Bulls (and never play in the NBA again, after).

Brother to NBA All-Star Jeff Teague, his pedigree certainly seemed to suggest that talent ran in the family. However, Marquis would never even come close to reaching the heights his brother did in the NBA, including Jeff’s 2021 championship run with the Milwaukee Bucks.

It’s understandably rare for late first-round picks to become even average rotational players with long careers in the NBA. It’s not Marquis’ fault for not being up to the task, but it most certainly is the Chicago Bulls’ fault for drafting him in the first place. In 2012, the Bulls were fresh off a 50-16 record that tied San Antonio for the NBA’s best and seemed to be genuine championship contenders until Derrick Rose’s tragic injury in the first round of the playoffs.

Beyond Rose, the Bulls had an experienced Rip Hamilton, an up-and-coming Jimmy Butler, and would go on to sign two fantastic rotational players in Kirk Hinrich and Nate Robinson. There simply was no need to go out and draft a guard while Rose recovered when the current core could have held the fort down.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau and his staff famously advocated for the Bulls to select Michigan State forward Draymond Green to round out the roster, but the front office decided to select Teague instead. It’s interesting to think about what the Bulls could have done had they selected Draymond instead, which is exactly why Teague has gone down as one of the biggest draft mistakes in franchise history.

Dishonorable Mention: Jimmy Collins (1970, Pick #11)

Point Guard: Jay Williams (2002, Pick #2)

Largely regarded as the biggest draft in Chicago Bulls history, there was no doubt that Jay Williams was ever going to miss this list. After an incredibly decorated college career at Duke where Williams won nearly every award imaginable, including Player of the Year in 2002 and a national championship in 2001, he seemed like a great bet with the second overall selection.

Unfortunately, he’d struggle mightily in his rookie campaign, posting just 9.5 points and 4.7 assists per game on an abysmal 39.9% shooting from the field. However, fighting for minutes with Jamal Crawford very likely disrupted his natural flow as a leader, as he did take over and dominate a handful of games that season.

He’d never get the chance to improve on that poor initial impression, however, as he’d suffer from a head-on motorcycle collision with a street light while speeding through Chicago. This effectively ended his playing career as Williams had to fight simply to recover the ability to use of his legs after fracturing his pelvis, tearing multiple ligaments in his knee, and severing a vital nerve in his leg.

Having a top-two pick on just five separate occasions in franchise history, Williams stands alone as the only player who didn’t have a successful career. Derrick Rose and Elton Brand obviously enjoyed massively successful careers as the Bulls’ only two top selections, but even Dave “not Magic Johnson” Greenwood and Scott May made solid careers for themselves after being drafted by Chicago in the late ’70s.

Obviously, it’s difficult to say just how his career may have panned out had the collision never happened. Still, a three-year guard in college coming in and looking that underdeveloped was never a good sign to begin with.

Fortunately, the Bulls would draft Kirk Hinrich with their first-round draft pick in 2003 and the point guard problem would finally be solved. Hinrich helped usher in a new era of Bulls basketball that ultimately culminated with Rose and Thibodeau transforming Chicago into a contender once again.

Dishonorable Mention: Dave Schellhase (1966, Pick #10)

15 best draft picks in Chicago Bulls history. dark. Next