Though Marquis Teague didn’t see any action in his return to Chicago, the second-year point guard was in good spirits before the Nets took on the Bulls at the United Center, putting a positive spin on his experience.
Prior to Thursday’s game, the 20-year-old didn’t express any bitterness or disappointment about his short-lived tenure with the Bulls. Instead, he praised Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau for giving him the basics of what it takes to survive in the NBA, not to mention his teammates for the good times he had, which included winning a first-round playoff series against Brooklyn, his current team, last spring.
“Oh, the whole thing. I loved the city. Great fans. I loved playing with the team. It was a great group of guys that helped me grow. So I was just thankful to be here,” Teague recounted. “Just go out there and just work hard. That’s what Thibs teaches and the fundamentals on the defensive end, that taught me a lot. He knows the game better than or just as good as any coach coaching, so I learned a lot from him and I appreciate everything he taught me.”
At the same time, he’s thankful for his new opportunity, in which he can learn from a future Hall of Fame point guard in his first-year as Nets head coach in Jason Kidd, a former All-Star floor general in Deron Williams and Peoria native Shaun Livingston, who experienced lots of injury-related adversity during his career.
"It’s been real good for me. Coming (to Brooklyn), I’ve been learning a lot, just watching ‘D-Will’ and watching Shaun, and just learning from coach Kidd. It’s been real good. I’ve been working hard,” said Teague, who now lives in an apartment in New Jersey, where the Nets still practice, though they now play home games at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. “He just lets me come down — when I’m in the game — he lets me make decisions. He just lets me play. He lets me get freedom, so I just come off and I’m confident.
“That’s big. Just trusting you to go out there and make the right plays, and just being confident. Then, it makes you even more confident in yourself. You’re going to go out there and be more aggressive, and not worry about the mistakes as much,” he added. “I didn’t lose confidence. I’d never lose confidence in my game. Just moving forward.
“(Getting traded) wasn’t really that tough. It is what it is. It’s part of the NBA, so it happens. Just got to be ready and go work hard.”
Kidd hasn’t been able to offer much playing time to Teague behind Williams and Livingston but so far has no complaints about the speedy youngster.
“He’s been great. He’s done everything that we’ve asked him to do and he’s only 20, so for him to continue to keep working and when he’s out there on the floor, get better,” the coach said.
Of Kidd and Thibodeau, Teague said he respected both coaches, but having seen Kidd on the court even just last season has made an impact.
“They’re two different coaches. They’re both great coaches. They’ve got two different styles. I respect both of them,” he explained. “The stuff (Kidd is) telling you, you know he’s been through it, so you’ve got to listen to it and he’s, if not the best point guard, one of the best point guards to play. So you’ve got to listen to what he’s saying.”