Atlanta Hawks: Jeff Teague is the real deal

 

atlanta-hawks

Good but never great was arguably one way you could describe Jeff Teague for much of his career. As he entered Restricted Free Agency last summer there were some who argued that the Hawks should just let him go to the Milwaukee Bucks and that he wasn’t worth the offered four-year $32 million contract. The NBA is becoming a league where every team has a quality starting point guard and the Hawks could probably find a better one. Throughout the beginning of the season however, Jeff Teague was looking like a real All-Star but due to injuries to himself and teammates, as well as poor play, by selection time he had fallen off-track.

But since the All-Star break he’s returned to his early form and is back to playing #TopTiergue basketball. The most notable change has come in his shooting splits. Before the break he was averaging 15 points on 41/26/83 shooting which isn’t anything too special, especially the horrendous three point shooting. Post All-Star he’s up across the board averaging 18 points on 48/44/85 shooting which is encouraging for several reasons.

As a point guard who takes over half of his shots near the rim it’s generally not encouraging to be shooting below 45%. Much of his shooting woes were largely due to ankle issues which is important to a point guard whose game is built on slashing to the rim and distributing. A 7% change is a drastic one but nothing compared to raising your three point percentage 18%. The jump in shooting is made even more impressive because Teague is averaging the exact same number of attempts per game.

Also worth mentioning is that he’s averaging 7 assists per game which ranks him 8th in the league–all while averaging the second most shot attempts on the team.

Is it sustainable? Probably not at this rate. His Pre All-Star game stats are much closer to his career averages (43/30/84) than his Post All-Star stats. There will probably be a little regression, especially with his three point percentage which will probably dip back under 40%. However, this level of production shouldn’t be ignored as an anomaly. With the new contract and Horford out for the season it’s time for Teague to be producing at a higher level and he’s probably ready to show that he can live up to expectations.

Tonight the Hawks will be taking on the Suns and happen to be the team the Teague has arguably had the most success against this season. The two met earlier this month and Teague scored 29 points on 67% shooting to go along with 9 assists, a steal and a block. Hopefully he can replicate this effort and keep his high level of play going.