In Search of Chemistry, Teague and PG Team Up in Scrimmages
"We're going to work well together," Teague said.
If you had to pick two players on any basketball roster who need to get along well, it would be the point guard and the leading scorer – the player with the ball in his hands most often, and the player who needs the ball most often.
For the Pacers, that figures to be Jeff Teague and Paul George, who began getting acquainted with one another on Wednesday, during the team's informal practice session at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Teague only began playing last week, the torn patella tendon that hampered him all of last season having healed sufficiently. George was in The Fieldhouse on Tuesday, and talked with Teague some in the locker room, but Wednesday was their first day together on the court.
So far, so good.
"I'm a really reserved guy; I don't really talk much unless I'm on the court," Teague said Wednesday afternoon, when he paid a visit to his alma mater, Pike High School. "But I'm a competitor, so I like to compete and trash talk and do all that. In the locker room I might be a little reserved and don't say much, but on the court I'm more outgoing and a leader. Yesterday in the locker room I was a little reserved, and it probably was a little weird because we were both just sitting there … our lockers are kind of by each other, so it was a little awkward. But today we played and you could see the relationship growing.
"When you get on the floor and you start competing and you want to win, you start talking on the floor. You start opening up and start talking about what's going on, and then you make conversation off of that. It kind of worked out like that today.
"We're going to work well together."
With most of the signed players participating, and all of the coaches on hand to instruct and observe, the Pacers scrimmaged on the TCU Practice Court. Teague, acquired as part of a three-way trade from Atlanta over the summer, is already feeling comfortable with his new teammates from having played against the likes of George, Monta Ellis, Thad Young and others for several seasons.
"I know pretty much everybody," he said. "We have a veteran squad, almost. I've played against everybody and know what everybody's going to do. We have a lot of talented players. It should be exciting."
Particularly with George involved. He took some time off after helping the U.S. Olympic team win a gold medal in Rio de Janeiro, but is back in the fold now. He led the post-practice players' huddle on Wednesday, stressing togetherness.
Guess what? Having the best player on the court tends to make a difference. Teague and George played together in every scrimmage Wednesday, and immediately established some chemistry.
"I could just see a difference with him on the floor," Teague said.
"He was competing at a high level. He wanted to win every game. That's what I like. I'm used to winning. I've never not been to the playoffs (in seven seasons with Atlanta). I've been competitive my whole career, so competing at a high level is good and that's what he brought the first day on the floor."
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