When I first heard about the status of Kirk Hinrich for this Hawks/Bulls playoff series, I was pretty devastated. Looking at it now, that might have been a blessing in disguise. Jeff Teague played amazingly in Game 1, surpassing my expectations. Not only did he make it tough for Derrick Rose to score, he was aggressive himself in the offensive end. He looked comfortable and like-dare I say it- a legit starting point guard. If Hinrich wasn’t injured, would we have seen Teague play at all? I’m not so sure.
I’m not sure a healthy Hinrich could have done what Jeff Teague did. It’s just one game I know and Teague has had these kinds of performances in the past, but if there is any way the Hawks will win this series, Teague has to play a big part. Not to take anything away from Hinrich, he’s a good defender and a solid floor leader, but he doesn’t provide the type of momentum plays Jeff Teague does. Hinrich is obviously the better player out of the two, since he’s more consistent, but Teague has the higher ceiling each game. I look at it like the way I did with the Billups & Lawson point guard duo, Billups is the player you would want to rely on for a whole season, but Lawson is the one more capable of having a dominating game. Same for the current Bibby & Chalmers point guard duo, Bibby is more reliable but Chalmers has the ability to contribute more. That’s how I look at this Hinrich & Teague duo, I would bet on Hinrich to perform better during the course of an entire NBA season, but if I had to bet on who would go for 30 between Teague and Hinrich if given the same minutes, I’ll go with Teague. Point being, in order for the Hawks to beat the Bulls in this series, they need great performances coming from the point guard position. Teague has the better skillset to do that. He’s younger, he’s more energetic, he’s quicker, he’s faster, and he’s more athletic.
Will Teague ever out perform Derrick Rose? No, Teague will not do that in any game during the series, but he has the ability to get close to it. Like I said before, the faith of the Hawks in this series, lies in the hands of Jeff Teague. He brings his “A” game (like he did in Game 1), Hawks have a good chance on winning games and the series. If he doesn’t, the Hawks will get to packing in about a week.
Here’s your chance Teague. Prove all of your doubters ( which at times, includes myself) wrong. The stage is set. You won’t get a better chance to prove your worth to Coach Drew and the organization than this series. All eyes are on you. You perform well, you have a future in the league and this team. If you don’t, you might just become another Acie Law, Salim Stoudamire, and Anthony Grundy. Seize the moment kid.
After the jump, see how Larry Drew fits in with all this…
Onto Larry Drew……
Larry Drew is in a lose-lose situation here in this series. If Jeff Teague plays well, fans of the Hawks and the media will say “How come Larry Drew doesn’t play this guy more often?”. Trust me, I have already seen it happening since Teague had a good performance in Game 1. If Jeff Teague plays poorly, people will say “This is what happens when you don’t have any confidence in your player and you give him limited or inconsistent minutes”.
My prayers goes to Coach Drew. No matter what the end results of Jeff Teague’s performance each and every game, Coach Drew will get burned. No matter what the end results of the game (win or lose), Coach Drew will get criticized.
Is the criticism warranted? At times, yes. Coach Drew isn’t the fans’ ideal coach but if he has this team over-performing everyone’s expectations, why complain? If Teague performs well and the Hawks are winning, stop complaining, the Hawks are winning. If Teague doesn’t perform well and the Hawks are winning, stop complaining, the Hawks are still winning. Basically, I think blame and criticism to Larry Drew should stop or at least be lessened when he’s winning games and he has been doing that the entire playoffs. Ya hear me?