One Final Tribute and Farewell to Jeff Teague

Mar 10, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague (0) is congratulated by guard Kyle Korver (26) after scoring a basket against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 10, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague (0) is congratulated by guard Kyle Korver (26) after scoring a basket against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Jeff Teague is officially an Indiana Pacer. Here is one last final tribute to his career as a Hawk.

Jeff Teague is going home. After seven years of peaks and valleys that showed flashes of him zooming his way towards being one of the greatest point guards in franchise history, it got too dark to see the rim at the playground in downtown Atlanta so he took his ball and left for the Indiana Pacers. He is now returning to where it all began, dominating the AAU circuit in the city of Indianapolis to filling up little gyms to capacity as the skinny, swagged out star guard for Pike High school. I know it has to be comforting to finally head to a situation where there isn’t any controversy regarding who should possess the starting job.

Jeff gave back wholeheartedly to the community while he was here. He created Team Teague, a AAU basketball camp for kids with his brother Marquis Teague, currently a guard for the Thunder’s developmental league affiliate, The Oklahoma City Blue and his father back in 2012. The Team Teague foundation was put together to help younger players polish their skills and also to provide a family atmosphere that could keep them from falling prey to a troublesome life in the streets. It’s also a pro am league for players 30 and over that’s actually going on now. That’s something that will no longer be found in the ATL. It has of course made it’s way to Indiana along with Jeff without losing any steam.

Jeff Teague was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2009 NBA draft from Wake Forest with the 19th pick in the first round. Earning his way early on would prove to be a real challenge playing for a coach in Mike Woodson that was reluctant to give inexperienced players any run. He did a great job his first couple of seasons keeping his head up and cheering on his teammates. His time would eventually come though as soon as the skeletal remains of Mike Bibby were delivered to Fernbank Museum with the rest of the dinosaurs.

It was during the strike shortened 2011-2012 season in Larry Drew’s second year as head coach that his coming out party would take place. He started all 66 games posting averages of 12.6 points, 4.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game helping to power the Hawks to a 40-26 record and fifth place in the East. The truth is that I could sit here feeding you stats until I’m blue in the face but that’s not what made the point guard special. The numbers he would compile over a game or a season isn’t what made him one of my favorite players.

March 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague (0) moves the ball up court against Los Angeles Lakers during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
March 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; /

MVTeague could flat out ball. Watching his superhuman speed live from my seat behind Big Tigger (The team’s dj) at Phillips arena was one of the more joyous moments of my life. There was aspects of his game that had the sort of substance and style that a younger, aspiring me would want to emulate. The Rucker Park like handles and the skill with which he could float a teardrop over the trees of the defense was what was most impressive. He could zip past anybody, take a long stride, then throw down an emphatic one handed tomahawk slam on whoever would be willing to get posterized. If I somehow achieved my boyhood dream of making it as an NBA player though, that wouldn’t have been possible for me. I’m 5″11″, really couldn’t jump over a couple phone books and wasn’t exactly so fast. If someone tried to block my layup when I drove to the hoop but I converted the shot anyway while also slapping my hand against the backboard, that would have been my highlight reel play. So it’s the crafty, Steve Nash type of characteristics in his game that I could relate to.[related-analysis]

Probably my favorite play from Jeff Teague came in the 2014 playoffs against the Indiana Pacers when the shot clock was running out and he nailed a trey with the defender draped over him falling out of bounds in front of the Hawks bench. Afterwards he casually jogged back on defense shrugging his shoulders the way Michael Jordan was famous for doing. That’s another quality that I appreciated about him was the showman’s element he brought to the court. All good things must come to an end though so I thought this would be a good way to let go.

The Dennis Schroder era is officially underway now and it’s about time I came to grips with that. The entire organization is very excited for what he will ultimately become. I hope he turns out to be a superstar that takes the league by storm. One thing is for sure though, the Dennis vs. Jeff conversation will live on as we’ll be graced with at least 3 head to head match-ups between the two every year. I leave you with Jeff Teague’s top ten. Enjoy!

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