Can Marquis Teague Be Next Year's Jimmy Butler for Chicago Bulls?

Haddon AndersonAnalyst IMarch 13, 2013

Oct 13, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Marquis Teague (25) looks on during the second quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center. The Timberwolves defeated the Bulls 82-75. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Marquis Teague has had a shaky rookie season for the Chicago Bulls, but there have still been occasional flashes of promise that beckon hope for the future.

Could he become next year's Jimmy Butler in Chicago's second unit? 

Butler, a second-year player, rarely saw minutes as a rookie in 2011-12. He appeared in just 42 games, averaging 8.5 minutes per contest.

Even when he did see the hardwood, his contributions were mild. His shooting percentage was a subpar 40.5 percent and he never looked confident offensively. His lone bright spots came defensively, where his length and athleticism revealed quality potential.

This quality potential has been exclaimed in 2012-13. Butler has emerged as a premier defender in Chicago's rotation, even generating buzz after shutting down Kobe Bryant in a January outing. 

What's more, his offensive development has occurred rapidly. While his long-range ball is still in need of vast improvement, his midrange game and ability to attack the rim have been on display. 

These overall progressions have raised eyebrows across the league. Can Teague make similar progressions in 2013-14, becoming next year's version of Butler while supplying Chicago's second unit with another versatile threat?

It's certainly possible, but it's not nearly as likely that Teague's development will occur as hastily as Butler's.

First of all, Teague (currently 19 years old) will be just a 20-year-old second-year player. Butler, on the other hand, is currently 23 years old.

This may seem trivial, but the reality is that Butler's age and body type (6'7'', 220 pounds) are much more fit for the NBA than Teague's. Teague's youth and small frame (6'2'', 190 pounds) make his NBA adjustments more difficult.

Teague must dramatically mature mentally (especially as a point guard) and physically (learning how to flourish at just 6'2''). Given his age and build, it's unlikely his ascent up Chicago's depth chart will transpire as quickly as Butler's.

Another element in this is Chicago's team needs. The Bulls are merely average at the shooting guard position, creating an opportunity for Butler to showcase his skills. He has also netted time at small forward when needed. 

Butler's presence has helped fill voids in their rotation, and he has become an exciting future component in the process. There's a strong likelihood that Butler will soon become Chicago's regular starting shooting guard.

Teague is playing a position that doesn't have nearly as clear of a void. In fact, there is no void at all once Derrick Rose returns.

Even while Rose has remained injured, Teague has only seen minutes when Kirk Hinrich has been sidelined due to injuries. If he's barely been able to sniff the floor with Rose out, then his role clearly looks marginal once Rose is back in uniform.

Come next season, the Bulls will still have Hinrich under contract, meaning Teague will be situated beneath at least Rose and Hinrich (and potentially another floor general, such as Robinson if they re-sign him).

This means that the minutes will once again be sparse for Teague. Quite frankly, they'll be even more sparse once Rose returns to his usual self and commands 35-40 minutes a game. There simply won't be any spare time for Teague to crack the regular mix unless there's an injury.

The last reason why Teague's progression will most likely not occur like Butler's is that he simply hasn't shown enough promise.

For the most part, he has looked like a player who could've been better-suited to remain at the college level a couple more years, where he could've added to his arsenal and developed his leadership skills as a point guard.

He has shown some agility on the defensive end as well as penetration skills with the rock. However, his ball-handling abilities are limited when going against high-pressure defenders, and his jump shot is years away from demanding respect from opponents.

At this point, Teague's a "project" player on the bench, and this will likely continue to be his role come 2013-14. His flashes of potential create hope for the future, but that likely won't be realized until two or three years from now.

Because of his youth, Chicago's lack of need for a point guard and his numerous weaknesses, Teague's surge into Chicago's rotation almost surely wont occur like Butler's. His breakthrough season will become a reality at some point, but don't expect him to follow in Butler's footsteps.