Add another Hawks player to the list of recent milestones.
Jeff Teague eclipsed 1,000 career assists Wednesday night versus the Philadelphia 76ers. The former 19th overall pick from Wake Forest recorded the milestone in his fourth NBA season.
It can be argued that Teague is the club’s first successful guard selection since Jason Terry in 1999.
Teague had 997 career assists prior to Wednesday’s contest, along with 2263 points, 462 rebounds, and 274 steals. His 27-point, 11-assist effort against the Sixers proved to be the difference in the game, as he handled his counterpart Jrue Holiday and held him to 11 points on 3-12 shooting.
Jeffrey Demarco was having a rough March before Wednesday night after averaging 18.3 points and 9.3 assists in February. We’ve been able to notice a difference in his playing style in these recent games. We either get to see aggressive-Teague (most improved player candidate; very good) or passive-Teague (not so good). In games when we see aggressive-Teague, the Hawks play much better as a team and the ball moves well as a result.
Devin Harris spoke about the aggressive play of Teague at the All-Star break:
“He’s really using his speed out there, he’s setting the pace for us,” teammate Devin Harris added. “Defensively he’s creating havoc, and he’s been aggressive on offense.”
Teague is a restricted free agent this summer and he will likely draw interest from other teams in the league. This last stretch of the season can be used as a “tryout” for the Hawks and everyone else. If general manager Danny Ferry wants the former Demon Deacon in his long-term plans, he might have to dish out a contract in the 4 year/$38 million range (similar to Jrue Holiday and Ty Lawson). We’ll have to wait and see if he consistently performs like the true point guard the Hawks have been waiting for since they skipped over Chris Paul in the 2005 draft.
Next up, the Hawks go against the Boston Celtics in a prime-time matchup (Friday on ESPN). Teague is averaging 20 points, 5.5 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 3.0 steals in two games against Boston this season. We’ll have to see which Teague shows up: passive or aggressive. It could certainly play a large factor in the outcome.