Jeff Teague: No reason to sleep
There are so many reasons why Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague should no longer be overlooked, unrecognized or slept on by the basketball world. It’s so hard, nearly impossible to solidify today’s “best point guard” with the ridiculous array of abilities and talent at the position. Your best bet is a top five list, but even those get rough.
I’m here to testify that I believe Jeff Teague could be building up a particular case for himself in the widespread point guard discussion.
There might have been a “quietly” in front of that statement one or two years ago, but there’s nothing quiet about what Teague and his Hawks are doing this season — a 44-12 overall record including an undefeated month of January (17-0). Atlanta has four players that average double figures in scoring, but Teague heads the overall offensive attack at 16.8 points per game while also averaging over 7 assists.
But this isn’t really about stats, more so how I’ve observed a maturity in Teague’s game this season.
Being that so many teams now possess some form of an elite point guard, it’s pivotal that you have your own to counter, and Jeff Teague has become that for the Hawks. What I’m most impressed by is the threat that Teague presents in the Hawks offense, both in transition and in the half court. He’s not a prolific scorer, or even necessarily a scoring guard as much as he is committed to running Mike Budenholzer’s offense. At the same time, Teague has shown more of an ability to be this team’s scoring crutch when they need it, and his game has progressed so that he’s become a more confident weapon.
Teague plays with an appealing control that blends perfectly with this team and system. Since it is an equal opportunity offense, no one is taking too many shots. Teague, Paul Millsap, and Al Horford all shoot team-highs of just over 12 per game. This model of efficiency bodes more than well for Teague because he’s learning how to play both aggressive and winning basketball. In doing so, Teague is only becoming more aware of how he can get his. Quickness and awareness are his key strengths, he gets by people routinely, and Teague’s decision-making sets the tone for this Hawks team.
Teague’s progression is noted in that his scoring average has increased +14 since he came into the league in 2009 out of Wake Forest. I’m not handing an elite status plaque to Jeff Teague today, but I am suggesting that Teague could be set to follow more in the mold of guys like Chauncey Billups and Tony Parker – a non-profilic but highly threatening, extremely capable, successful point guard that is part of a collective team effort.
For Teague to earn that kind of ultimate recognition, the Hawks efforts would have to amount to a championship. If that is to be the case, Jeff Teague will be a huge reason. Then sleeping wouldn’t be an option.