Increasing the minutes for Jeff Teague is one of the few low-cost, high-reward propositions the Hawks have for boosting their performance. He isn’t an All-Star caliber player by any means, but Teague presents Atlanta with a more dynamic scoring guard to accentuate the roster’s offensive versatility. In his one playoff series with operational freedom, Teague led the Hawks in scoring in three out of six games – topping 20 points on each occasion in slow-paced games played against the best defense in the league.
On a Hawks team that is committed to the inefficiency of long 2-pointers and tough pull-up jumpers out of isolation, Teague brought a .514 playoff field goal percentage while committing few turnovers. He went from playing marginal minutes to doing 40 a night, and led the Hawks in playoff P.E.R. (Player Efficiency Rating) in the process. If you’re looking for a compelling reason Atlanta was able to play effectively against Chicago in the postseason, I see few more valid explanations than Teague’s performance.
This coming year is Teague’s chance to build on that success, but he can only do so with Drew’s approval.
It is not uncommon for coaches to trust veterans over young players, but the basis for that perspective in Teague’s case is now gone. Teague has produced as a meaningful member of Atlanta’s lineup in a way that Hinrich never could, and if Drew is finally willing to let Teague continue to explore his optimal role, the Hawks will be all the better for it.
Saturday, December 03, 2011
Off the Dribble: Mahoney: Give Teague a Chance
Friend of the blog, Rob Mahoney, makes the case for Jeff Teague at NYTimes.com's NBA blog: