|Jeff Teague against the Nets in the 2015 First Round Playoffs|
Jeff Teague was expecting his sixth NBA career season with the Atlanta Hawks to go entirely different than we saw. Teague, along with the entire roster and coaching staff, anticipated that Atlanta would continue to build off of last year’s success to once again advance and return to the Eastern Conference Finals. However, the season began and ended similarly to how it ended in 2015. Last season, the Hawks had a sub-par playoff run however, they still advanced to their first Eastern Conference Finals.
The Hawks struggled to beat teams that weren’t on the level as the team whom owned Home Court Advantage in the Eastern Conference by finishing with the fourth overall seed. After beating the Boston Celtics in six games. they would once again suffer a sweep by the defending Eastern Conference champions Cleveland Cavaliers. Jeff Teague’s 2015-2016 season had its ups and downs to say the least. Teague’s playing time declined, for yet another year, now sitting at only 28 minutes per game. Early in the season you could see the frustrations on Teague’s face while sitting the bench in the 4th quarter watching third year backup point guard Dennis Schroeder run the point guard position. Things did not get any better for Teague as he was wrapping up the first half of the season due to being the prime target that Atlanta was considering trading around the Trade Deadline.
If there’s anything that we have learned about Teague during his tenure in Atlanta. Teague carries a large chip on his shoulder when he feels disrespected or wasn’t valued by the Hawks organization. After the 2012-2013 season, there was a question as to whether or not the Hawks would match the offering sheet of the Milwaukee Bucks when they signed Jeff Teague as a restricted free-agent but Teague went on to prove how good he really was. The very next year Teague went on to average a career high in points at nearly 17 points per game and averaged (6.7) assists per game. During the playoffs, the #8 seed Hawks gave the #1 seeded Indiana Pacers many issues and even held a 3-2 lead; however, Atlanta couldn’t win the final two games and the Pacers eliminated Atlanta in Game 7. During their playoff run, Teague posted 20 points per game. Jeff Teague’s huge post-season took Hawks fans and the NBA by surprise.
This season, In the final 20 games of the regular season, Teague led the Hawks to potentially earning the #3 seed in the playoffs, while averaging 22 points per game. Then the inexcusable issues happened and the Hawks lost their spot on the final day of the season to the woeful Washington Wizards. Teague showed spurts of “Super Star” talent, but his inconsistencies of being aggressive drove Hawks fans crazy. His lack of aggression is one of the biggest things that Hawks fans have an issue with when discussing the fan base between Dennis Schroeder supporters and Teague supporters. While both have fair and valid arguments, Teague is still in the prime of his NBA career at 27. I do not see the benefit of parting ways with Teague now unless the Hawks are going to get a pretty good haul in return.
In conclusion, with Teague’s contract expiring after next season, the Hawks may consider some moves but they’ll need to make them ASAP. With Teague’s minutes diminishing year after year, I don’t see Teague returning to Atlanta and honestly, why would he? In conclusion, if we have reached the end of the “Jeffrey Teague” run in Atlanta, it’s definitely been a fun tenure and our former first round pick would have a solid career for our beloved Hawks. I have certainly enjoyed the re-emergence of the Hawks from the cellar of the Eastern Conference to the top of the pack with Jeff Teague running the show from start to finish.
Michael Thomas (@ChosenOne_MT10)