Marquis Teague, the Cubs in the second half and Jabari Parker in green and white.

Marquis Teague.

I am not a University of Kentucky fan, regardless of sport. However, that has nothing to do with my displeasure regarding the Bulls’ selection of 6’2″, 180-lb point guard Marquis Teague with the 29th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. I know the 19 year-old who helped lead the Wildcats to a national title in April is extremely talented and if not for a certain fellow by the name of Derrick Rose, would be a lock to be the Bulls’ starting point guard for years to come. In spite of Teague’s ability, I just don’t feel it was the right pick.

Of course, everyone and that one sports-hating friend they have knows that Rose could possibly miss the entire 2012-13 NBA season because of a torn ACL. Anyone familiar with the Bulls roster knows that neither CJ Watson or John Lucas III are barely capable replacements for Rose, if that. Clearly, the point guard position is a very important one, and it certainly needs to at the very least be stabilized if a team wants to have any sort of success.

Still, ignoring that, the Teague pick nearly infuriated me. Again, I acknowledge that Teague is talented. I’d even go as far as to call Teague “a steal”, mainly because many mocks and “experts” had him being drafted well before 29th. In a deep draft, though, you can afford to go for need late, and unfortunately, the Bulls didn’t do this.

Basically, the Bulls need help at every position. I briefly discussed the point guard spot. At the 2, Rip is not the answer and it appears that Kyle Korver may be on his way out. Luol Deng is merely an above-average small forward and his backup, Jimmy Butler, showed glimpses during his rookie 11-12 campaign that he may be more than a bit useful if he can manage to get more minutes in the rotation. Power forward Carlos Boozer‘s lack of production and care to play defense have been well-documented, and while backup Taj Gibson is a crowd favorite, he is yet another Bull who most likely won’t get much better than he is right now, already at the age of 27 and only 3 seasons into his NBA career. Joakim Noah has definitely grown on me, but the center provides more based on his competitiveness, energy and general attitude than his talent. He’s also, like Deng and Gibson, a not-exactly-young 27. Defensive specialist and backup center Omer Asik has reportedly been offered a 3-year, $25 million contract by the Houston Rockets, with a whopping $15 mil to come in the third year of the deal. The Bulls plan to match, from what I’ve read, but would probably be better off not risking having to pay a 26 year-old $15 mil when he’s still literally a one-way player.

More than anything, the Bulls need a player who can handle the ball and create his own shot, preferably at the wing position. At 29, there were a few players who fit this description; Draymond Green, Will Barton and Doron Lamb, to name a few. Even if the Bulls were hellbent on selecting a guard, combo guard Tyshawn Taylor was available.

When Rose is healthy, Teague will be his backup. Rose will not become a shooting guard and anyone who suggests as much is not bright. It would keep some of the wear and tear from affecting Rose, but Andy Reid would be a moron to move Mike Vick to the H-back position and name Vince Young the starting QB. Vick would be a more healthy and possibly effective player, but not as productive, and opposing teams would have an easier job defending him. Teague will not play the off-guard spot, mainly because of his size, or lack thereof. If he’s not big enough to play the 2 at the NBA level, there’s no need to examine his chances of manning a frontcourt position.

So essentially, GarPax used the team’s only draft pick in a rather deep draft to select a backup point guard. Perhaps Teague will become a highly productive sixth man and great second-unit floor general. In my opinion, the point guard position was not one that needed to be addressed in the draft. Alas, this is the Bulls way.

Starlin in front, LaHair in the back.

The second half of the ’12 Cubs season.

A 33-52 record at the All-Star break is more than enough reason to cause a fanbase to want to fast forward to the next season, but unfortunately, that type of technology doesn’t exist. (Blame Steve Jobs?) Anyway, the Chicago Cubs stink. Disregard their 8-4 record since first baseman Anthony Rizzo‘s promotion on June 26, and the sudden bit of enthusiasm surrounding the team going into the break. This is still a team that has holes that no patch can fix easily.

Shortstop Starlin Castro and outfielder Bryan LaHair were named All-Stars, but it’s hard to get too excited about that when the Cubs are one of the worst teams in baseball. Starter Ryan Dempster has a miniscule ERA of 1.99, but again, the Cubs have the third-worst record in the majors. Theoyerleod plan to move as many big contracts as they can in order to help build for the future and Dempster is definitely a candidate, along with left fielder Alfonso Soriano.

Prospects like outfielder Brett Jackson and third baseman Josh Vitters continue to develop, as does pitcher Alberto Cabrera. Fans will undoubtedly grow more impatient as the losses continue to pile up, and will probably clamor for the first two to be called up well before the date MLB rosters can expand to 40 men. Starter Jeff Samardzija is nowhere near as awful as he was in June, but we shall see if he continues to improve as he racks up the innings in his first season as a full-time starter. The Cubs will play 42 home games compared to 35 on the road, so I guess that’s a plus? If the Cubs can put more smiles on my face than looks of utter disappointment in the second half, I will consider their 2012 season a huge success.

I predicted that this would be a lost, craptastic season for the Cubs and so far, I have been proven right. Nevertheless, there are still 77 games left on the calendar and I will see it to the dreadful end.

Jabari Parker, on the banks of the Red Cedar?

My ties to South Side Little League and the Kenwood Academy baseball program practically prohibit me from cheering for Simeon Vocational in any way, shape or form. However, I am a huge Jabari Parker fan. The 6’8″, 215-lb small forward is widely regarded as the nation’s best high school basketball player in the class of 2013 and I have been lucky enough to see him play a few times already.

You can believe the soon-to-be senior has been recruited by every major college program in the country. Yesterday, Parker created a bit of chaos on the Twitters, tweeting the ten schools that he hopes to narrow down to a final selection before November. One of them is my alma mater, Michigan State University.

Early reports are that Sparty is the leader at this point, and I most definitely hope those reports are accurate. MSU head coach Tom Izzo has been in Chicago earlier this year, and I’m guessing that he wasn’t there just for the great food. Obviously, Parker to MSU isn’t a lock. Parker, a devout Mormon, listed BYU among his final 10 and it’s totally viable that he end up a Cougar. I doubt that will happen, but he appears to be cut from a different cloth.

More important than MSU being among Parker’s final 10 is that no other Big Ten school made the list, not even UofI at Champaign-Urbana. How hilarious is it that Big East cellar-dweller DePaul, and not Illinois, made Parker’s list? Very. Regardless, Jabari Parker is one ridiculously talented individual and would, by himself, make any basketball program an immediate national title contender. Put him in a green and white jersey with “State” on the front of it, and I will jump for joy…while celebrating their 2014 national title victory.


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