Bulls

Teague hopes to rebound from 'rough' start

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Teague hopes to rebound from 'rough' start

LAS VEGAS For Bulls first-round draft pick Marquis Teague, Tuesday nights NBA debut started out with a bang, as the point guard opened the games scoring with a transition layup, in which he demonstrated his explosiveness, as he also drew a foul on the play.
It went downhill from there, however, as the 19-year-old shot 4-for-17 from the field and committed six turnovers in the Bulls summer-league loss to the Celtics.
Just ready to bounce back Wednesday. I had a rough day shooting the ball and I just want to get back out there, he said afterwards. It was just like a lid for me on the rim Tuesday, but Wednesday Ill be all right.
Teague also struggled to defend fellow Indiana native ETwaun Moore of Boston, a second-year pro, and looked alternately tentative and out of control at times. Still, there was a silver lining to his evening beyond the statistics, as the Bulls fought back from a deep hole to give the Celtics, who have one of the leagues better summer squads, a run for their money late in the contest.
In the first half, I was too fast, doing some silly mistakes. In the second half, I kind of slowed down and things went better for us. We came back, so Ill just try to take off from the second half tomorrow, Teague rationalized. Youve just got to stay confident. Its about winning the game at the end of the day. Its not about one player.
Despite his difficult night, the people most important to his professional future remain optimistic about Teagues ability, with the caveat that he needs a lot of work.
He can break down defenses and makes plays for himself and others. Hes got speed and quickness, but its going to be a process with him. Its going to take time. Hes 19 years old, Bulls general manager Gar Forman told CSNChicago.com. But hes getting adjusted now to whats expected of him, as far as the workload and just getting used to the game. This week will be good for him.
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, an advocate of players being prepared, something that comes with experience, was less boisterous in his praise, but understands that Teagues learning curve will be steep, simply due to his age.
Hes got to learn the pro game. Hes also coming out of college, so hes got to learn how to be a pro, he told CSNChicago.com. This is the first step. Theres a lot of work that has to be done.
Bulls summer-league head coach Adrian Griffin will continue to be patient with the developing floor general, who is only a year removed from his high-school days in Indianapolis.
When youre talking about running an NBA ball club, I think thats the hardest thing for any guy, let alone a rookie, so this is going to be a learning experience for him, he explained. His intensity needs to pick up and playing at a faster pace, but I think he settled in.
He did some good things, but theres some things he has to work on, Griffin continued. The second half, I think he felt more comfortable. It was the first game, so Im not going to just lose sight of whats going on. I think hell be better next game.
In addition to Griffin, Teague also received positive reinforcement from teammate Jimmy Butler, only a second-year player himself, but one with the benefit of four years in college, as well as a debut NBA campaign in which he was forced to mostly observe under the guidance of a veteran-laden squad.
I think thats the biggest thing for me., like Ronnie and all those guys did for me. They took me underneath their wing and I just want to be able to do that for Marquis, Butler said of showing Teague the ropes Tuesday. Keep shooting. Thats what I was trying to get him to understand. Stay aggressive coming off the ball screens. Hes always the first option. Youve got to make teams respect that you can shoot it before you can get to the cup. I think everybody knows that and I think hes going to come out next game and be aggressive, and play basketball.
Concurred Teague on Butlers advice: Just keep your confidence and stay aggressive. Its summer league. Just get your shots up and continue to play.

Bulls Talk Podcast: How NBA Draft combine impacted mock drafts

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: How NBA Draft combine impacted mock drafts

On this edition of the Bulls Talk Podcast, Mark Schanowski and Kendall Gill discuss the NBA Draft and what happened at the NBA combine that shifted most experts mock drafts.

Kendall also explains why a "promise" to draft a player isn’t guaranteed. He also shares his experience on getting drafted by the Hornets and why he initially felt they were the wrong team for him.

North Carolina "News and Observer" Duke basketball beat writer Jonathan Alexander gives us his opinion on Wendell Carter and the other Duke draft prospects including why he thinks Carter will be a future all-star. Also includes an interview with Carter from the draft combine.

Listen to the full Bulls Talk Podcast right here:

The next preps-to-pros leaper, Anfernee Simons confident 'I'll be able to make this jump'

The next preps-to-pros leaper, Anfernee Simons confident 'I'll be able to make this jump'

Anfernee Simons looks more like a ball boy than a 2018 NBA Draft prospect right now. He’s not considered small, what with having a 6-foot-3 frame with a massive 6-foot-9 wingspan, and he weighed in at last week’s NBA Draft Combine at 183 pounds, “heavier” than Lottery-bound guards like Trae Young, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Collin Sexton.

But there’s plenty of potential to unpack from the soon-to-be 19-year-old, baby-faced combo guard. Don’t let the appearance fool you. Simons is one of the most talented players in the class, and a team patient enough to let him develop at his own pace could reap major benefits in due time.

You won’t find much video on Simons, as the IMG Academy star is preparing to be the first prospect to go preps-to-pros without a year in college since Thon Maker did so in 2016.

Simons, a consensus five-star recruit in the 2018 class, originally committed to Louisville in November 2016 and then decommitted the following September shortly after Rick Pitino was fired. Since he had graduated from Edgewater High School in Florida and was playing a post-grad year at IMG Academy, he became eligible for the 2018 NBA Draft because he is a year removed from high school. That’s where he played this past season, declaring for the draft and signing with an agent in late March.

“The opportunity is there. Me and my parents talked about it a lot and I feel like I’m confident in myself that I’ll be able to make this jump,” he said at last week’s Combine. “So I just felt like, do it now and not waste any time.”

Simons has been on the radars of NBA teams, even if he’s not a household name like Ayton, Doncic and Bagley. He’s currently projected outside of the Lottery, in part because teams haven’t seen him compete against collegiate level talent and because his wiry frame almost surely means time in the G-League as a rookie. But again, the skill set is there.

Simons is a point guard with solid range beyond the arc. He may struggle off the ball because of his size, though that long wingspan and a quick release from his chest should allow him to get off shots. He’s a blur in transition and finishes well at the rim – his 41.5-inch vertical was tied for third best at the Combine, and his three-quarters court sprint was eighth fastest.

He’s a mixed bag defensively. Wingspan is the fun buzz word these days, and that will help him at the next level, but his small frame means there’s work to be done. A strength and conditioning coach will salivate at bringing Simons into the weight room and getting his body NBA-ready.

“Just staying durable through 82 games,” Simons answered when asked about his biggest challenge physically at the next level. “Taking care of your body is real pivotal so I feel like learning how to take care of my body now is a good thing.”

Simons maturely answered that the “unknown” of his game will be both a positive and minus during the pre-draft process. While fellow prospects he may face in team workouts don’t know as much about him and, thus, his game, teams also need to find out more about Simons’ game and off-court habits.

“Coming in young, people don’t know who I am and haven’t seen me play much. That’s the good side about coming in early,” he said. “It could be the same thing (negatively). People haven’t seen me like that, so I feel like they don’t know who I am. They probably think I’m too young to play in the league.”

Simons met with the Bulls and has scheduled a pre-draft workout with them. Though the Bulls feel like their rebuild could go quicker than anticipated – especially if they hit on their No. 7 pick – there could be plenty to gain from drafting for upside on a player like Simons.

Jerian Grant and Cameron Payne will both be free agents in 2019, and Denzel Valentine’s long-term future isn’t set in stone in Chicago. That leaves plenty of openings in the backcourt behind Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine. Simons won’t be ready to contribute much in 2018-19, but the Bulls wouldn’t need him to. A handful of outlets projected Simons as a top-5 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. The Bulls could snag him a year earlier, let him develop in Hoffman Estates and bring him up in a year when they’re a step closer to contending.