In the first half against the Knicks, he ran rampant on New York’s unsure and therefore mediocre pick-and-roll defense by being aggressive, going to the rim and getting into the paint. In the first half alone the point guard out of Wake Forest had racked up 18 points on 7-for-12 shooting (2-4 3FG), 3 rebounds and 2 assists.
In the second half Teague shot just 2-3 from the field but also managed to get to the free throw line, where he made all five of his attempts in the half … but he wasn’t as aggressive of a scorer as he was in the first half despite playing against a Knicks team that conceded 35 points to Jrue Holiday less than 24 hours before these two teams met.
Teague should have smelled blood in the water and attacked the Knicks until they proved to be able to stop him. Instead, he passed too often before probing the defense and trying to make something happen for himself, and, in turn, his team.
Indeed, the Atlanta Hawks coaching staff is attempting to bring the most out of Teague during every quarter and every half so that eventually, over time, Teague will have the chance to rise into the discussion with the top point guards in the NBA.
“Yea, you know, we’ve been working with him on that,” said Hawks head coach Larry Drew following the game. “We’re constantly working with him on that, on just the consistency part. He’s shown that he can be a very effective point guard in this league. As you guys know, it’s about being consistent night-in and night-out. The good ones are consistent night-in and night-out. He got off to a really, really good start but it kind of tailed out in the second half. But you know, he’s young.”
Young… But talented. If and when Jeff Teague realizes that he has the ability to be a menace for opposing guards on every play at the offensive end on every single play, he just might be able to join those other point guards in that upper echelon.
“I’m just trying to get better every day, every game,” said Teague. “I think I’m doing a better job than last year, so I’m progressing. I’m just playing my game. I just try to set guys up and get us into our offense. If my opportunity is there I just try to make shots when I’m open.”
The fourth-year lead guard is trying to find the balance to his game that will take him to the next level. Hopefully for ATLien’s, he can find it sooner rather than later.
Jeremy Bauman is an aspiring scout and shooting coach who writes columns and blogs for SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter.