Jeff Teague’s Career in Atlanta

Jeffrey Demarco Teague had a long journey to earn the starting point guard position with the Atlanta Hawks and after he was traded to the Indiana Pacers, here’s a look back at the Teague era in Atlanta. The 6’2, 186 pounds point guard from Indianapolis, Indiana battled through a lot of adversity to become one of the best guards in the Eastern Conference. Jeff Teague spent his high school years in Indianapolis and was a part of the Pike High School basketball team. Surprisingly, Jeff Teague wasn’t a star for his school initially; Courtney Lee ran the show at Pike. However, in 2006 during the Adidas ABCD Camp, Teague finished top 10 in the camp in assists and also shot 38% from behind the arc. After his great showing at camp, Teague continued to make significant progress in High School. During Teague’s senior year (2006-2007), he averaged (22.0) points per game and four assists a game and earned  a McDonald’s All-American Nomination. Teague was considered as a four-star recruit by, he was also listed as the 9th best point guard in Indiana and 57th best overall in the nation in 2007. 

Jeff Teague’s dunk on Maryland

Teague struggled with his grades in high school but the former Butler coach and present Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens was on Jeff to get his grades up to par to have a successful collegiate career. Stevens really wanted Jeff Teague to attend Butler University but after Jeff graduated from high school, he decided to go to Wake Forest. Jeff Teague started strong his freshman season at Wake Forest averaging (13.9) points per game, (2.7) rebounds per game, (2.5) assists per game, and (1.8) assists per game. In Teague’s sophomore year, he dominated averaging (18.8) points per game, (3.5) assists per game, and (1.9) steals a game. He also earned  ACC Player of the Week twice, winning the awards in back-to-back weeks on Jan 12th and 19th and All-America by the NABC (2nd team), the Sporting News (2nd), the USBWA (2nd), (3rd) and the Associated Press (Honorable Mention). Teague was a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award, John Wooden Award and the Oscar Robertson Trophy. After Teague’s sophomore year, he declared for the NBA Draft.

In the 2009 NBA Draft, our Atlanta Hawks selected Jeff Teague with their 19th overall pick. Teague’s NBA career didn’t get off to a fast start simply because he was a backup point guard to veteran guard Mike Bibby. In Teague’s rookie year, he only averaged (10.1) minutes a game and posted (3.2) points per game,  and 1.7 assists. But at the end of his rookie year , Teague nad a solid outing in the Hawks final regular season contest posting  (24) points, (15) assists, and (5) rebounds against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Teague didn’t play as much during the 2009-10 playoffs. In Teague’s second year, he would get the opportunity to play more under new coach Larry Drew as he averaged (13.8) minutes per game and posted (5.2) points per game, (2.0) assists per game and (1.5) rebounds per game. During Atlanta’s playoff run in 2011, Teague would get his first opporunity to shine as a starter in the SemiFinals against the Chicago Bulls. With starting point guard Kirk Hinrich out, Teague filled in very well averaging (14.8) points per game, and (4.2) assists per game.  This showed the fight that Teague had and continues to have during his career.

In the 2011-12 NBA season, Jeff Teague became the Atlanta Hawks starting point guard and in his first year as a starter, he finished with (12.6) points per game, (4.9) assists per game, (2.4) rebounds per game and (1.6) steals per game. Jeff Teague was arguably one of the most improved players that season and he continued to get comfortable as a starter in the NBA. In the 2012-13 season, Jeff Teague’s play showed that he was going to be a threat in the NBA. Teague recorded career-highs of 14.6 points and (7.2) assists per game, along with (2.3) rebounds  per game and (1.5) steals per games in (32.9) minutes per game appearing in a team-high 80 games (78 starts). He recorded ten 20-point/10-assist games in 2012–13, the third highest total in a single season in franchise history. He just kept progressing in his starting role and the Hawks earned the sixth seed in the East. As the 2013-2014 off-season began, teams started to look at Teague as an option to pick up as their new point guard. But the Hawks weren’t ready to move on from Teague, On July 10, 2013, Teague was extended a four-year, $32 million offer sheet by the Milwaukee Bucks; however, three days later, the Hawks matched the offer.

In the 2014-2015 NBA season, Jeff Teague and the Atlanta Hawks shocked the NBA finishing with the best record in the Eastern Conference with an impressive record of 60-22, a franchise record for the Hawks. Teague was a major key to that spectacular season and kept the play going in the playoffs. Teague earned his first All-Star selection as a reserve for the Eastern Conference in the 2015 NBA All-Star Game and arguably became one of the best guards in the East. In the first round against the Brooklyn Nets, Teague averaged (14.2) points per game and 7.8 assists per game as the Hawks won the series 4-2, their first series win since the 2009-10 season. In the Conference semi-finals against the Washington Wizards, Teague averaged (16.3)  points per game and (7.0) assists per game. In Game 4, as the Hawks trailed 2-1, Jeff Teague recorded 26 points and 8 assists, scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter and hitting a clutch three-pointer in the final minutes, sealing a 106–101 win over the Wizards and tying the series at 2–2. In Game 6, he recorded 20 points and 7 assists, while assisting DeMarre Carroll on two consecutive possessions in the final minute, giving the Hawks a four-point lead. They went on to win 94–91 after a potential tying three-pointer by Paul Pierce was waved off, clinching the series 4–2. Atlanta advanced to their first Eastern Conference Finals in team history.After a disappointing sweep by the Cleveland Cavaliers, things started to change.

Hawks backup point guard Dennis Schroder was making a lot of progression while Teague seemed to hit his peak so we saw the two battling for minutes, Teague never lost his starting job but would sometimes be on the bench in close game situations. Midway through the season,  Jeff Teague was at the center of the rumors during the Trade Deadline as he was being shopped and was possibly going to move forward with Dennis Schroeder as the starting point guard; however, the Hawks kept him around. 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 was still in the prime of his NBA career at 27.  He appeared in 79 regular-season games in 2015-16, averaging (15.7) points and (5.9) assists while shooting (43.9) percent from the field and (40) percent from 3-point range. In the playoffs, he shot just (38%) percent from the field and (25) percent from 3-point range while averaging (14.5) points and (6.1) assists. per game.

 As the season ended in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals with another sweep to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Hawks fans began to feel like the franchise would  move on from the veteran point guard and give 2013 First Round Pick Dennis Schroeder a chance to start. Teague has always been known as a troll on Instagram by deleting post that he puts or saying sketchy things that made Hawks fans feel that he wouldn’t be with us next season. A few weeks ago,  Teague announced that he was playing injured all year but then later deleted it. With rumors already floating around and the Hawks getting tired of being mediocre, the moment we were dreading happened one day before the 2016 NBA Draft. The Atlanta Hawks traded Jeff Teague to the Indiana Pacers as part of a three-way deal with the Utah Jazz. Indiana traded point guard  George Hill to the Jazz, who are moving the No. 12 overall pick in the NBA draft to Atlanta. With the move, Atlanta is committing to guard Dennis Schroder as our point guard of the future. As the Hawks start this highly anticipated off-season, we will miss the memories of the player who received the nicknames of “Teague Time”and “Insaniteague”. Teague left many Highlights and made some history during his time as an Atlanta Hawks point guard. He will be remembered as one of the franchise best point guards and unfortunately, the time has come to say goodbye to Jeff Teague. 

Daric Clemens: @DClemens_

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