Jeff Teague Has Arrived
The 2010-11 season began with Hawks fans excited to see Jeff Teague take on a bigger role with the team and live up to the title of “Point Guard of the Future” in Atlanta. While there were glimpses of greatness during the regular season, the minutes and production were never consistent for Jeff.
Then the Hawks surprised Orlando in the first round of the playoffs, defeating the Magic in six games while Teague saw just nine minutes of action in the series. In the closing minutes of the Game 6 victory, Kirk Hinrich was injured and the Hawks’ hopes of competing with the Chicago Bulls and league MVP Derrick Rose seemed all but lost.
Looking back now, it was a great time to use the “everything happens for a reason” cliché.
Before he was limited in Game 6 (when he injured both wrists) Teague was averaging 17 points per game in the series (second on the team) including three 20-plus performances. Maybe more impressive was the job he did running the team and taking care of the ball. He finished the series with 25 assists and just seven turnovers.
When asked if he would have predicted how well Jeff had taken care of the ball going into Game 6, Larry Drew was wuite candid. "No. To be perfectly honest with you, no. That was one of the areas I’ve been really trying to focus on him with. Learning how to regulate his speeds. At times he has a tendency to play at one speed and it results in turnovers. Now it seems that he is doing a good job at regulating his speeds. He’s picking and choosing his spots, and that’s what good point guards do."
Coach Drew went on to compliment Jeff's overall play. "What he has done in these playoffs, he’s shown that he has arrived. He’s not doing it just against anybody, okay. He’s doing it against maybe the top point guard in this league. I haven’t seen that done under those circumstances. He’s done a phenomenal job. You can just see, him being out there, he looks confident. The way he goes to the basket. The way he’s bouncing up off of his shot. He looks really confident in just being out there."
Joe Johnson echoed Coach's praises and was optimistic that this is just the beginning for Teague. "He's been great. As long he continues to work and get better over the summer, the skies the limit. This will definitely be his team to run."
When asked about the potential dilemma of choosing between a healthy Kirk Hinrich and Jeff Teague, LD immediately got a big smile on his face and simply replied, "I would like to have that problem. That's a nice problem to have."
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