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Injuries Held Jeff Teague Back In 2018-19
As we recap the 2018-19 Timberwolves season, our Kyle Ratke and Julian Andrews will be taking a look at each player on the roster and how we'll remember their season. We continue with point guard Jeff Teague.
KR: As far as health is concerned, Jeff Teague had a rough 2018-19 season, missing 40 games. When Teague did play, though, the Wolves were 23-19.
That seems significant.
Teague’s scoring isn’t what we’ve seen in the past at 12.1 points per game, but he did average a career-high 8.2 assists per game. He also only turned the ball over 2.3 times per game, his lowest mark since the 2011-12 season.
It’s worth noting, too, that when a player is hurt like Teague was, seemingly for much of the season, it’s pretty hard to get into a rhythm.
Teague underwent surgery on his left ankle at the end of the season and should be fully healthy heading into the 2019-20 season.
A healthy Teague brings a lot to this Wolves team, especially offensive. He’s a career 35.6 percent 3-point shooter and is one of the faster players when he attacks the basket.
We’re excited to see a healthy Teague for the 2019-20 season, something he wasn’t for the majority of 2018-19.
JA: While Teague would be the first to tell you his 2018-19 season was a little disappointing, let’s not forget about the positive. When Teague played well, the Wolves played well. In particular, Teague’s passing was key for Minnesota. In the 15 games where Teague collected 10 or more assists, the Wolves went 12-3. That’s legit. It wasn’t just in these exceptional games that Teague helped the Wolves either. When he had five or more assists the Wolves went 23-14.
Teague’s passing was on another level this season. He ended averaging 8.2 assists per game—a career high. He also only turned the ball over 2.3 times per game, his lowest since 2011-12.
The biggest problem this season for Teague was health. He only played 42 games and struggled with ankle injuries for much of the year. It’s hard for a player to get into a rhythm when they’re struggling with their health and especially for a point guard who is tasked with running the offense, rhythm is important.
Teague does a lot for the Wolves when he’s on the floor. He’s an experienced, veteran point guard who has won consistently in the league. It’s easy not to notice what Teague does—he doesn’t score a ton and he isn’t known for making flashy passes or highlight-reel layups. What he does do is put his teammates in position to score and makes winning plays along the margins of the game.
In an NBA that props up big personalities and is constantly on the lookout for headline-making quotes, it’s easy for someone like Teague to fly under the radar. He’s quiet, doesn’t love talking to the media and is a pretty private person. His teammates are all fans of his, though, and his ability to put other players in positions to succeed is extremely valuable.
Having a steady hand like Teague’s at the helm of an offense is a luxury. Playing with players like Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns who are exceptional finishers, Teague can really rack up assists. If he can come into 2019-20 healthy and ready to go, it could be a special year for him.