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By ANDREW SELIGMAN
AP Sports Writer
DEERFIELD, Ill. — The Chicago Bulls figure they’ll take a hit without Derrick Rose. They hope they softened the blow on Thursday. The Bulls selected Marquis Teague with the 29th pick in the draft, giving them a point guard who could help fill the void while Rose recovers from major knee surgery.
They’re not finished looking for help at that spot. General manager Gar Forman said they’re still looking for another point guard and could use some help at shooting guard, with free agency starting on Sunday. “It’s going to take a number of guys to make up for the load that we miss while Derrick’s out,” Forman said. “The point guard is one of the positions we still need to address as we go into free agency.”
Teague, whose older brother Jeff plays for Atlanta, was the fourth Wildcats player drafted, after Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist went to New Orleans and Charlotte at No. 1 and No. 2 and Houston took Terrence Jones at No. 18. Teague averaged 10.0 points and ranked second in the SEC at 4.8 assists per game while helping Kentucky win a national championship in his lone season. He struggled at times on defense and with turnovers but improved in both areas as the year went on.
The Bulls have had good luck with explosive guards who played for John Calipari. Rose, who isn’t expected back until early next year, did at Memphis.
“It was something we were looking at,” Forman said. “(He’s) another guy that’s capable of pushing in transition, breaking down defenses and making plays. He’s an excellent athlete.”
Could he start at some point next season?
“He’s going to make a big adjustment going from college to the pros,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “The first part is learning how to be a pro. And then it’s going to be based on performance, how he does. He has to learn our system, learn our leg, and then we’ll see where we are.”
So was that a no? “It’s not a no or a yes,” Thibodeau said.
Teague joins a team that appears to be in a holding pattern at the moment, waiting for Rose to recover from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. It’s an awkward spot, particularly considering the Bulls captured the No. 1 overall playoff seed the past two years. Rose could return some time around mid-January or February if he doesn’t miss the entire season, but how soon he regains his explosiveness is another issue. That likely won’t happen until 2013-14, assuming he returns to form.
Drafting Teague was just a step for the Bulls, who did not have a second-round pick.
“All the reports, all the background that we did on him — everybody said he’s very, very competitive, he’s a winner, and that’s something you guys know over the years we’ve stressed,” Forman said.