Jeff Teague has not been good this year. The likelihood of him being good this season was always low. Rookie point guards drafted outside the lottery rarely contribute at a high level in their first year. Still, it is not that Teague has shown no signs of life. He has been an annoyance with on the ball defense outside the three point line, can get into the lane at will, and is at least average at finding teammates off that penetration. Teague's downfall has been his inability to hit open shots, failure to adjust to athletic shot blockers, and cheap/bad fouls after getting beat on defense. Basically his down fall has been being a rookie.
It is unfair for Teague or Woodson to expect big things from him this season or even to compare him to other rookies doing well. The Hawks have Teague and there is no reason to define his role and minutes based on anything but the Hawks' internal dynamics.Still, the role he has now is an "if" mentality. Teague can play if we get up by enough points, if foul trouble hits the front court, if Woodson remembers, and that just will not work. Jeff may have a lot of development in front of him, but the Hawks have four guys good enough to surround him and make that development have some definition outside of "we will see what happens."
If Bibby is out/needs minute reduction
Jeff Teague should take the minutes at point guard. He is not going to be worse at defense than Bibby, and he is only going to learn defensive communication and how to avoid fouls by playing. If you do not play Teague because he is rookie (and those are rookie issues), there is no reason to have him on the bench. Send him to the D-league. One could understand taking him out at the end of games, but Jeff Teague has enough skill to survive with four very good starters. Plus, as Bronn pointed out, Jamal Crawford at point guard has produced his weakest play from the point.
The key is defining his role, which has been hard to do in the four minute stretches Teague has had so far. The problem is no one has confidence in Jeff's jump shot, and that is a prerequisite for Woodson. Teague's college stats indicate his shooting could/should come around. So as a stop gap and/or emphasis on development, Woody could adjust. He needs to adjust. There are plenty of good point guards that cannot hit jumpers at a regular clip. And yes, Teague has had problems even hitting shots in close, but that is because bigs are blocking his shot. If they are blocking Teague's shot that means they are not guarding Josh Smith or Al Horford.Put an emphasis on distributing the ball and Jeff can be dangerous without ever taking a field goal attempt.
He will not be MIke Bibby or even Jamal Crawford. He does not need to be. He just needs to survive, and the longer he survives, the more he will learn and the better he will get.
When the Hawks are at full strength.
Jeff Teague needs more minutes. Not because he is better than the other guys playing, but because you have to learn to trust your players, give them confidence, and allow them to learn. The Hawks may not be a better team every time Jeff hits the court, but there are moments when they will be. And the more Teague learns the game, the more those moments will happen. Plus, Jeff Teague playing point guard means Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford are playing their most effective position.
Per 36 minutes, Jeff Teague is averaging 6.5 assists to 2.1 turnovers. That is better than Ty Lawson. Of course, Teague has picked up a lot of those stats in garbage time and against second units, but with a healthy team, he really only needs to play against second units. He just needs to play.
The question Woodson needs to ask is Jeff Teague going to lose us games playing 12 minutes a game? Some match ups that might be the case, but being stubborn about a specific style of point guard is going to continue to make developing a young point guard very difficult. They rarely come in ready. That is why there is a coach.
Jeff Teague needs experience and a game plan that fits his strengths, both of those can happen without sacrificing the roles of the other players on the team. Woody will just have to break his five year old mold.
Someone get a chisel.