Coach’s trust in Marquis Teague looks to have eroded
BY JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter November 30, 2013 11:46PM
Chicago Bulls guard Marquis Teague plays during an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers in Los Angeles, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. The Clippers won 121-82. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Updated: January 2, 2014 6:45AM
CLEVELAND — Trust earns playing time on coach Tom Thibodeau’s court.
Marquis Teague and Erik Murphy explained that black-and-white concept the last few weeks. Good play earns trust — trust earns playing time from their coach.
It became obvious Saturday that Teague had once again taken a step back in that department.
After Derrick Rose went down with a season-ending injury last week, Teague got a good amount of minutes behind new starting point guard Kirk Hinrich for the Bulls.
Against the Cleveland Cavaliers, however, Thibodeau first turned to veteran Mike James off the bench and never called Teague’s number.
“[Teague has] to continue to work,’’ Thibodeau said. “You never have it all figured out. There’s been some ups and downs.’’
Thibodeau added that point-guard minutes will be handed out based on “matchups … see how it unfolds.’’
Asked whether Teague had showed improvement in running the team, he said, “Yeah, we’re seeing some of that, but it’s not just one guy, it’s the entire group.’’
Either way, in his second season, Teague could be moved in a package if the Bulls start becoming sellers. Four teams were interested in the point guard’ at the end of training camp, especially after Teague shined in the Summer League. The problem is that Hinrich is a free agent after this season, and the organization hoped that Teague would step up.
Jimmy Butler [turf toe] was back with the team on the end of the six-game road trip, going through his regular rehab before the game with the Cavaliers. But just because he’s well enough to drag a suitcase with him doesn’t mean he’s any closer to returning to the starting lineup.
“Getting the swelling completely out, that’s the first part,’’ Thibodeau said. “Then he has to be able to practice. Once he can do that where there aren’t any repercussions the next day, we’ll go from there. So he’s really two steps away.’’
At the start of the regular season, there was a lot of hype surrounding what was supposed to be an improved Eastern Conference Central Division. That’s all it’s been so far — hype.
The Bucks have been a disaster. The Pistons and Cavaliers have been huge underachievers. Don’t tell that to Thibodeau, however, who considered the Cavs to be a team set to turn it around.
“They’ve got a new system and it takes a little bit of time,’’ he said.