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Jeff Teague entered the 2013 offseason as a restricted free agent. He agreed to a four-year, $32 million offer sheet from the Milwaukee Bucks, but the Atlanta Hawks decided to match the deal and keep the 25-year-old point guard.
The Hawks made a big commitment to Teague. Now, the only question is if he can live up to the contract and become a legitimate franchise point guard in Atlanta.
For the sake of evaluation, here’s a comparison between Teague and another point guard who was also drafted in 2009:
2009-10: 3.2 points, 1.7 assists, 0.9 rebounds, 0.5 steals, 39.6/21.9/83.7 shooting splits.
2010-11: 5.2 points, 2.0 assists, 1.5 rebounds, 0.6 steals, 43.8/37.5/79.4 shooting splits.
2011-12: 12.6 points, 4.9 assists, 2.4 rebounds, 1.6 steals, 47.6/34.2/75.7 shooting splits.
2012-13: 14.6 points, 7.2 assists, 2.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 45.1/35.9/88.1 shooting splits.
2009-10: 8.0 points, 3.8 assists, 2.6 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 44.2/39.0/75.6 shooting splits.
2010-11: 14.0 points, 6.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 44.6/36.5/82.3 shooting splits.
2011-12: 13.5 points, 4.5 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 1.6 steals, 43.2/38.0/78.3 shooting splits.
2012-13: 17.7 points, 8.0 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 1.6 steals, 43.1/36.8/75.2 shooting splits.
Player A is Teague. Player B is Jrue Holiday, who was drafted two picks prior to Teague in the 2009 draft.
As you can see, Teague had a much slower start to his NBA career, but he’s improved statistically in four straight seasons. Holiday, meanwhile, earned more playing time as a rookie and put up better stats as a result. The key takeaway, however, is the comparison during 2012-13.
Holiday blossomed into an NBA All-Star with the Philadelphia 76ers despite having a vastly mediocre supporting cast. Teague played well in his fourth season, but didn’t exactly have a breakout year.
When you factor in that Holiday is two years younger than Teague at 23 years old, it’s not much consolation for Hawks fans.
The 2013-14 season will be a huge test for Teague. If he can’t prove himself as a true franchise point guard, he’ll be an expensive placeholder until rookie Dennis Schröder is ready for a larger role.