SAN ANTONIO—If there’s a silver lining to the Bulls’ 101-83 Wednesday-night loss to the Spurs at the AT&T Center, it was rookie point guard Marquis Teague’s career-high 11 points, which included knocking down the first three three-pointers of his NBA career.
The Kentucky product entered the league with a reputation for being able to get to the rim, something he’s displayed when given the opportunity, but he’s also been saddled with the label of not being able to keep defenders honest from the perimeter.
Teague took advantage of San Antonio’s defenders playing off him, as he knocked down his first three attempts from long range, which were fueled from the extra work he’s putting in before and after practice with Bulls assistant coach Ron Adams.
“I was just taking my open shots and they were just falling. I was just confident and put it up when I got it,” the soft-spoken 19-year-old told CSNChicago.com. “My teammates have just been telling to take the open shot, so I was open and I just let it go. I was just happy that they went in.”
All-Star teammate Luol Deng, who’s been supportive of Teague receiving opportunities to develop, spoke about the youngster’s development.
“He’s working hard. That’s the life of a rookie. It’s up and down, but he’s just got to stick with what you do in practice and he’s doing a good job of coming in early, getting shots up, working with Ron Adams on his form,” he said. “His shot has gotten a lot better. There’s a few games where he didn’t make shots, but his shot is looking good.”
Fellow All-Star Joakim Noah, who was visibly excited when Teague hit each of his triples, added: “It’s great to see the rook play well. I think he really played well for us.”
However, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, while acknowledging Teague’s shot-making, focused on the rookie not playing the defense that he’s capable of.
“Well, I’d say some good and some bad. He made some in the first and you’ve got to look at the whole game, and we want him to be a complete player, so we’ve got to be more competitive,” he said. “We’ve got to compete out there, we’ve got to be into the body, we’ve got to be disciplined and we’ve got to get things done defensively. You allow a team to shoot 54 percent or whatever, that’s not good.”