Just about a month ago Jeff Teague was still a restricted free agent, not knowing where he would be playing next season. The Bucks wanted him; the Hawks didn’t want to lose him. He claimed to be fine with either situation, playing for his former coach Larry Drew in Milwaukee or staying put in Atlanta — the only NBA city he ever called home. The latter of these two options ended up occurring with Atlanta matching Milwaukee’s qualifying offer to lock him up for the next four years. Now, Teague is positioning himself for a loftier role.
In an interview with Steve Kyler of HOOPSWORLD, Teague said he’s ready for a larger role with the Hawks in the 2013-14 season.
Teague made a name for himself last season as one of the better point guards in the NBA and really made improvements to his game from 2011-12. He bumped up his scoring from 12.6 ppg to 14.6 ppg, his assists up from 4.9 to 7.2 per game, and his foul shooting from 75.7% to 88.1%. His 45.1 field-goal percentage ranked among the top-10 point guards in the league. These numbers from a fourth year player are very promising, but it seems Teague might be called on to do even more in the upcoming season.
Many credit Teague’s statistical jump to the departure of Joe Johnson at the end of last season, as it gave Teague more flexibility to run the team. Now it’s Josh Smith (and his 15 shots per game) that has left Atlanta, leaving a void that Teague will be partially responsible for filling. It is a responsibility that Teague claims he is ready for and one that he certainly will not shy away from.
Others also responsible for filling that void left by J-Smoove will be returning Hawks Al Horford, Kyle Korver and Lou Williams. New additions Paul Millsap, Elton Brand, DeMarre Carroll and first-round draft pick Dennis Schroder will also be called upon to help fill the void as well.
It’s Teague responsibility for guiding the Hawks as the floor general. He must be willing to assert himself more than ever and take on a larger role with the team. Luckily for us, he is.