Jeff Teague is off to a career-best start and he has been key to Atlanta's excellent start offensively. His success in pick and roll situations has been a big piece of the puzzle offensively for the Hawks.
Per MySynergySports.com 44 percent of Jeff Teague's offensive plays come in the pick and roll as the ball handler. He is currently 22nd in the league averaging .83 points per possession. As a team, the Hawks are fourth in the NBA averaging .83 points per possession when the ball handler takes the shot in screen and roll situations. That is a number that has been on the climb after a weeks worth of strong performances against the Philadelphia 76ers and the New York Knicks.
Above we have a standard pick and roll involving Jeff Teague and Al Horford. Raymond Felton gets caught up in Horford's screen but as you can see Andrea Bargnani is not even looking at Teague who is coming off of the pick.
As the play develops, you can see Teague has begun to gather at the free throw line and Bargnani has taken himself completely out of the play. He created such a gap between himself, Horford and Teague that Felton is able to slide between and almost recovers on Teague.
Here is what the play looked like in real time:
Bargnani's struggles on defense, especially in the pick and roll, are well documented and Atlanta repeatedly attacked him in two meetings last week.
Here is a similar situation a few plays later. The same four players are involved and Teague this time is going left off of Horford's screen. Felton again chases Teague over the top of the screen and Bargnani doesn't even step out to contest Teague who squirts free for a wide open layup.
You can see Felton give Bargnani a look as the play ends:
One of the things I have liked about Mike Budenholzer is that he doesn't go away from things that are working. The pick and roll is a big part of Atlanta's offense and the Hawks haven't been shy at attacking opponents who struggle to defend it.
Against Philadelphia, the Hawks were in a similar situation with Spencer Hawes struggling to contain Teague in the screen and roll. The Hawks kept attacking him in the fourth and Sixers head coach Brett Brown made an adjustment putting Hawes on Atlanta forward DeMarre Carroll. Recognizing this, Budenholzer used a set to get the matchup that he wanted.
Here you can see Hawes guarding Carroll. Instead of letting him of the hook, Atlanta uses a set to get Carroll into a pick and roll situation with Teague forcing the Sixers to make another defensive decision.
Here they elect to switch the screen which puts Hawes in an almost impossible situation of having to try and check Teague from above the free throw line. He does about as good as could be expected but Teague still gets the bucket.
Here is a look at the play in real time:
Atlanta doesn't begin every set with a pick and roll but they often try to get an initial look and fall back on the pick and roll should that look not be there. They are showing a great deal of patience and teams are having a very difficult time containing Teague in the pick and roll. Opposing defenses are so concerned with Teague's penetration it has opened opportunities on the perimeter for Atlanta shooters.