Monday, January 31, 2011

Jeff Teague: Soaring Hawk?

Athletic, indecisive and brilliant. Jeff Teague is a growing PG in his sophomore campaign for the Hawks. Teague plays about a quarter each night and has shown flashes, but also shown he has tons of room to grow. Sounds like any young player, right? Only problem is the Hawks aren't doing their best job of molding him. Playing him behind a guy who gives less and less in Mike Bibby frankly makes no sense. Nor does having him stand on the perimeter and chuck up three's!

Sometimes Teague's passes are terrible. Throwing it to Jason Collins in mid-range jumper territory? Not pretty. Teague looks as if he doesn't know his personnel with how he throws the rock. Teague also gives it t0 the wrong guy late in the shot clock. It makes it appear as if he has no awareness of the clock. That may be, he's not fully acclimated to the NBA game yet. The Hawks must praise him for what he does well, all the while giving him areas where he can improve.

The brilliance of Teague lies in his dunks, crossovers and Lion-like quickness. When he puts his head down and penetrates, high percentage looks become available. Problem is that the Hawks don't really give him the chance to penetrate when he's on the floor. He usually dribbles on the perimeter, passes it to the interior, moves around and maybe throws up a jumper or two. That's not proper utilization of talent and ability to improve on what is already a strength.

Teague needs to chance his mindset in order for the Hawks to realize the value he's got. Bulldoze to the bucket, take the contact and use your strength to finish. That will excite the whole squad, increase his confidence and Coach Larry Drew's trust in him. Then Teague can better define his role and get a true chance at fulfilling that role.

Atlanta really needs a more consistently cohesive offense (I could say this every year). Teague is the elixir to their offensive ailment. His penetration would open everything up. Easy finishes for big men, open jumpers and a team with a nice entrée of options. Sounds scrumptious!

With time, Teague can be much more serviceable than he already is. More playing time, attention to detail and trust in his abilities has to come. Who wants to see so much Mike Bibby play so much anyway? Free Teague!