Who are the most crucial Atlanta Hawks players? Part 2

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1.  Jeff Teague, PG 

Jeff Teague had 15 points against the Pacers. (Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images)

Ranking Jeff Teague the #1 most crucial Hawks player for this season was a no-brainer. Teague will be handed the proverbial keys to coach Mike Budenholzer’s offense — an offense that is reliant on its point guard to handle the ball, drive the lane, set up teammates, and even score. Without solid point guard play, the offense will not be effective. So, for the first time in his career, Teague is clearly the main cog in the Hawks’ offensive plans. If he doesn’t preform at a high level, don’t expect to be going to games at Philips Arena in late April.

The expectations on Jeff Teague are higher than they’ve ever been.

Teague nearly was not a Hawk this season, after he signed a Milwaukee Bucks offer sheet this summer. The Hawks decided to match the Bucks offer, and will be committing $32-million to the four-year veteran point guard over the next four seasons.

In past seasons, the biggest knock on Teague was his tendency to over dribble during possessions. This often led to either a poor shot attempt or a turnover. In the preseason, these problems reared up a few times, especially against the Indiana Pacers. Teague would drive to the basket, the Pacers big men would collapse down on him, forcing Teague into a turnover. At times, Teague appeared visibly frustrated. The Hawks will head into this season expecting Jeff to improve upon those situations. And, he should.

Coach Budenholzer’s offense is not just new to Teague, it’s new to the entire team. As the players become more comfortable running the new offensive schemes, fewer possessions will result in turnovers.

This is the biggest year of Jeff Teague’s young career. The Hawks season will likely hinge on Teague’s development.

That does is for the countdown of the Hawks’ most crucial players for the 2013-14 season. Give us some feedback in the comments section below on which players you think were ranked too low, too high, or just right.

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