Jeff Teague could be this year's Steph Curry
After a surprising Game 1 performance the Atlanta Hawks shocked the Indiana Pacers 101-93. This was due largely in part of Jeff Teague coming through with a big performance of 28 points and 5 assists. The two things the Hawks were getting away with were pick and roll and Teague just be being aggressive with the rock and taking it to the whole. George Hill was a liability to put in a nice way. The confusion on switches for Indiana were disturbing for a team that was on pace to be one of the best defensive teams of all time earlier in the year The trend continued into Game 2 until the third quarter where the Pacers put on a defensive performance that was worthy of a #1 seed in the NBA playoffs. It was also one those predictable, make a statement or we're dead situations and I think that puts everyone on their best behavior. I'm in the crowd that these type of scenarios will cause good players to play a little less ego and will do less to jeopardize the team's success. Think about when Shaq conceded to Dwayne Wade in the 2006 NBA Finals. It was not a secret that Shaq wasn't the "Man Of Steel" that he was with the LA Lakers. Instead of ego getting in the way Shaq was more than upfront about the fact it was D-Wade turn to shine.
I started this post right after Game 3 but then I wanted to write something that wasn't reactionary. This is why I didn't say oh the series was #8 seed after Game 2. Coming into Game 6, after the Hawks had a 40 point lead and at one point could have been the first #8 sweeping a #1 seed. I think we can take away three significant things. Jeff Teague will get mainstream star consideration next year, the Hawks need a perimeter scorer, and Roy Hibbert has no confidence and would be up for D-league consideration if All-Star wasn't attached to his name.
People have been high on Teague since he entered the league 2009. That last year at Wake Forest was good that Daniel Damico of Bleacher Report issued him an apology for sleeping on his all around game. In a coincidence of my research another article on Bleacher Report pleading for the Hawks to take Sam Young, Eric Maynor, or B.J. Mullens instead of Jeff Teague. Couple of things right there. I see why I can't find that writer again and 2009 was not as crowded as 2014 with sports bloggers. Everybody has a voice now including my self and I am taking the position that Jeff Teague is an All-Star in a (buzzword time!) "guard-driven league". The media will make him this year's Steph Curry. He'll get credit if they continue the level of play to close out the series and into the second round against Washington. Then after they will get bounced and the conversation will be about what the Hawks will be next year when Al Horford comes back.
Even when Big Al comes back healthy and ready to go they still will need a perimeter scorer. No, not a shooter but a scorer. You one of those guys like Carmelo Anthony, Trevor Ariza, or Jeff Green on good nights. Yes it's much easier said than done. If you move an overpriced scoring threat like Joe Johnson you have bring in a threat that won't require you to play half court basketball to win. This what Jeff Teague is by his lonesome but you need two. Look at the best teams in the NBA and they have two great threats on the outside. Colin Cowherd echos this sentiment often. Lebron and D-Wade, Durant and Westbrook, or even Parker and Ginobli. My partner from the podcast Eazy likes to bring up Lou Williams. Lou Williams hasn't been "that guy" since he hit the league in 2005. I think Eazy and a lot of his fellow Hawk fans give Sweet Lou a little more love being the local kid coming back to the hometown team.
Pacers look pissed in yellow
The last thing that I'm pulling from this series the fact that Roy Hibbert is invisible in this series. You take that name away with the notation that he has made an All-Star team and you would think he would be out of the league next year. Its weird. Almost like Danny Granger had a Michael Jordan "Space Jam ball" and took his powers along with the mental awareness that he is 7'2. From 17 a game last postseason to 4.8 this year. I know the locker room is influx but for an individual to fall off so hard is starling.
I'll wrap this up by saying this. If Atlanta holds it down and maybe even gets past Washington, I think it could be the worst thing for very optimistic Hawks fans and hopefully the front office won't display the same false sense of security. After all they weren't worried about the playoffs in the first place.
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