Marquis Teague may not have been considered by many to be better than his Point Guard predecessors entering his freshman season, but he is the only one to have National Champion next to his name. It’s well known by now that Teague has entered his name into the NBA draft after only one season of college basketball. One season that can be described as up and down from a personal standpoint. This wasn’t the perfect marriage from the start like a John Wall or Derrick Rose, no this one took patience and much improvement, but this patience paid off in the long run. Pegged as a turnover machine that would derail Kentucky’s national title hopes at the beginning of his career he improved drastically as a floor general over the course of the season and helped guide Kentucky to their eighth national title (some would even say he’s a bulldog). Teague enters the NBA draft as a bit of a wildcard as he possesses much athletic potential but lacks the numbers to become an immediate impact at the next level. Given the fact, I wanted to look around the league and determine where Teague would be best to grow until he is ready to handle a starting position.
Defensively, Marquis had a solid season for a freshman, finishing with a Defensive Rating of 98.8 (points allowed per 100 possessions). This was accomplished by forcing .93 steals, pulling down 2.1 defensive boards, and only fouling a total of 2.3 times per game. While nothing spectacular it was above average for a freshman campaign. Offensively, Teague was a very good distributor as he finished the season with an assist rate of 25.5% (4.7 per game), but did have a turnover issue with a Turnover Rate of 23.7% (2.7 per game). While certainly not NBA ready numbers it was again good for a freshman point guard with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Shooting wise he finished the season connecting on a very respectable 71.4% of free throws and 32.5% of attempts from three. Finishing at the rim however was a different story as Teague only converted on 43.8% of his interior attempts. As a result of this inconsistent interior shooting he finished with a team worst 99.4 Offensive Rating (again, average for a freshman). With this data we now know we are dealing with an incomplete product, but it’s a product that oozes potential.
Last season the Houston Rockets had two point guards in Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic who both finished the shortened 2012 season with Assist Rates over 30%, so it appears as though Teagues services would be better suited elsewhere. However, Goran Dragic is now a free agent and it’s uncertain whether or not he’ll return. This could prove to be a solid fit for Marquis as he wouldn’t be the primary ball handler so he would have time to learn the position. If the Rockets were to draft Teague they would initially lose some production in their point guard play, but the potential is there to improve in the future.
Denver last season was in a similar situation to Houston as they had two capable point guards who both had Assist Rates of over 30% in Ty Lawson and Andre Miller. Another similarity to the Rockets is that one of the two, Andre Miller, has become a free agent who is renegotiating his contract and is uncertain to return. Miller played the backup to Lawson last season and proved to be very good second option, averaging 6.7 assists in only 24 minutes per game. If Teague were to become a Nugget he would play the backup role that Miller filled, but would do so behind one of the League’s budding point guards, Ty Lawson, who could prove to be a great mentor.
The Memphis Grizzlies finished the shortened 2012 campaign with a 41-25 record and came up short in the first round of the playoffs to the LA Clippers. They did this with only one true point guard in Mike Conley who finished the season with an Assist Rate of 29.8%. The rest of their distributing came by committee as they had two players in OJ Mayo and Gilbert Arenas who split backup point guard duties between their regular shooting guard position. Memphis could use a full time backup point guard so their shooting guards can play their position full time. If the Grizzlies were to pick up Teague with their first round pick they could find a very real solution to their backup point guard woes.
To conclude Teague has a lot of development to do until he can become a starting point guard in the NBA, but he does have the potential to become just that in due time. He is a capable distributor with good scoring ability and that’s a quality that many NBA franchises are willing to pay for. It remains to be seen how fast Marquis will develop, but if the leap in maturity we saw throughout this season is any indication of how fast he’ll develop in the NBA he should be playing quality minutes in the near future.
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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