Atlanta Hawks: Teague and Schroder Should Play Together


Dennis Schroder’s star is brightly lit these days. The Atlanta Hawks point guard is coming off of an exceptional performance at EuroBasket 2015. Despite a 1-4 record from the German team, Schroder shined. In five games he averaged 21 points, 6 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game on 48.1 percent shooting.

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Schroder was Germany’s best player all tournament and he proved that he has what it takes to be a lead guard. That’s good news for the Hawks. There’s just one problem. They already have a starting point guard, and a darn good one at that.

Jeff Teague is coming off of a season in which he made the All-Star game, averaging 15.9 points and 7 assists on 46 percent shooting. At 27, Teague is just entering his prime. He may be just scratching the surface of his ability. It’s going to take more than a five game sample of outstanding Schroder performance in an international tournament to knock Teague out of his starting spot.

So, the Hawks have a bit of a problem. Albeit a problem most teams would kill to have. They have two talented point guards, but only one starting point guard spot. The simple fix is to play these two together. The small ball revolution occurring in the NBA has generally meant playing small forwards as power forwards and power forwards as centers. Why can’t it mean playing two point guards?

Last season Teague and Schroder only played 189 minutes together. The results weren’t pretty. During those 189 minutes the team was -0.8 points per 100 possessions. The smaller lineup also resulted in worse rebounding. That’s troubling, but 189 minutes is an incredibly small sample size over the course of an entire NBA season. I expect Schroder to take a massive leap forward this season. This is a bet on that potential.

Playing Schroder with Teague eliminates one of problems that plagued the Hawks last season. A lineup with Teague, DeMarre Carroll, Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap and Al Horford featured only one player that could create off the dribble. Fortunately Mike Budenholzer’s offensive system built around rapid ball movement made that a non issue for most of season. However, there are times when it comes down to the end of the shot clock during a possession when you need players that can create their own shot. Teague and Schroder give the Hawks multiple players that can do that.

Schroder’s presence on the court also takes the pressure off of Teague to be the primary ball-handler. Teague can hang out in the corner for a few possessions while Schroder runs pick and rolls with Horford and Millsap. Schroder dashes to the rim will open up shots for the aforementioned big men, Korver on the wing and Teague in the corner (where he shoots 37.8 percent for his career).

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  • With Carroll in Toronto that leaves an offensive and defensive hole in Atlanta’s rotation. Thabo Sefolosha will step into his starting role and replace his defense, but that doesn’t mean he has to receive all of Carroll’s 31.3 minutes per game. Replacing Carroll’s offensive production will be a group effort by Sefolosha, Kent Bazemore, Tim Hardaway Jr. and hopefully Schroder. He doesn’t just have to be a backup point guard, he can be a scorer and creator that plays a vital role in the offense.

    Schroder only played 19.7 minutes per game last season. That’s obviously going to increase and Schroder should have a much bigger role in the offense this season. For him to play more minutes he and Teague are going to have to share the court for more than 189 minutes. It’s inevitable and something that could make Atlanta’s 6th ranked offense even better.

    I’m not saying this should be the primary starting lineup, just that this needs to be a combination featured much more than it was last season. There are obvious weaknesses, but the offensive versatility outweighs the defensive concerns.

    Next: Moving Forward Cautiously

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