August and September represent the "dead period" in the NBA world, and those writers who cover the sport regularly often use player comparisons to generate discussion. We are certainly in support of that practice in this space, and when a panel of NBA writers from CBS Sports opted to compare Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague to another interesting PG in Ty Lawson, I was riveted.
Fortunately for Atlanta, the panel unanimously believes that Teague is the better player of the two, and some high praise came from the exercise.
Zach Harper had this to say about Teague, as a snippet of his explanation:
Teague is just under 6-2 and has a 6-7 wingspan. He can push the ball, shoot the ball, and is a plus-defender with the Hawks' new direction. We've also seen him run that Hawks offense to near perfection on a lot of nights. I might be projecting here a bit rather than going on pure data, but I'll take Teague's size and overall game in a close call.
The development of Teague as a "plus-defender" may be somewhat overstated, but his maturation on that end of the floor is vital for the Hawks, and his improvement is undeniable.
Later, James Herbert weighed in on Teague's "degree of difficulty":
While Lawson is a killer offensive player, Teague gets the slight edge here because of his all-around play.
He made it look easy, but there was a high degree of difficulty for Teague last year in Atlanta. He knew precisely how to break defenses down within the Hawks' system, and he kept his scorers happy. His team was unstoppable for most of the season, and four guys, Teague included, made the All-Star team because of the way he orchestrated things.
This is another area in which Teague has really matured, especially for those long-time fans who remember his youth with the club. Teague will always be something of an enigma from a personality standpoint, but his ability to run the offense effectively has been important to Mike Budenholzer's ability to install the full gamut of options.
Lastly, Matt Moore gave Teague high marks despite strong support for Lawson in a vacuum:
Teague -- a bigger, longer player -- is an A-level defender, and the offense is right there with Lawson as Teague is ridiculously crafty with the ball, can knock down shots, and has become a patient game-mananger in Mike Budenholzer's system. Teague has been instrumental to a great team's success.
Jeff Teague is very, very good and some fans continue to overlook what he brings to the table. It is fair to say that Teague will likely never reach "star" level in the way that players like John Wall (mentioned in the CBS column) have, but he is a top-15 point guard by any description, and given that he is vastly underpaid, the value is enormous for what he contributes.