Breaking Down Jeff Teague's All-Star Chances

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Breaking Down Jeff Teague's All-Star Chances
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

As the exciting All-Star Weekend quickly approaches, with the starting lineups already being released this week for both conferences, many analysts and fans are already eager with anticipation as to which reserves will make the final cut.

The Atlanta Hawks’ Jeff Teague, a quick-footed, transitional tasmanian devil on the break, is an interesting player to consider for the big event.

In terms of All-Stars for the Hawks, many considered Al Horford to be a virtual lock for a spot on the Eastern Conference All-Stars. Unfortunately, he is now out for the year due to injury. Paul Millsap, the team’s quietly devastating power forward, is likely a long shot as well given the amount of popular forwards in the conference.

So the question becomes, does Teague even have a shot at being the only representative from the team that currently holds the third seed in the Eastern Conference? He has never been an All-Star during his five-year career.

From a statistical standpoint, he might have a case. His scoring has increased from 14.6 points per game last year to 16.2 currently. He averages the most assists per contest (7.3) for the league’s No. 1 passing team.

However, percentage-wise he has dropped in every category compared to last season, notably three-point percentage (26 percent). He is shooting way too much from the outside (2.7 attempts per game) and not getting to the line (5.2) nearly as much as he should given his blazing speed and finishing ability in the paint.

Teague recently inked a four-year extension with the Hawks over the offseason, and based on his marks, it appears he is trying to do too much for his squad based on his pay raise instead of just playing his game.

Looking at overall efficiency for all guards in the East, Teague barely cracks the top 10, at exactly No. 10.

Then, we must look at the most important aspect of the All-Star Gamethe popularity contest.

Teague plays for a team that is rarely talked about by the mainstream press, mainly because the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat offer much more interesting story angles.

Now, with Horford done for the season, Atlanta becomes a much less interesting team in many eyes, as unfair as that may be. They are simply not viewed as a true competitor to take on either the Pacers or Heat at this place in time.

The top-10 finishers in votes for the Eastern backcourt included names such as the struggling Deron Williams (No. 10), the ancient Ray Allen (No. 5), the injured Derrick Rose (No. 4) and the recently healthy Rajon Rondo (No. 6), who has played a total of four games so far this year.

In the West, Kobe Bryant was named a starter on the Western All-Stars, even though he has played only six games and is currently injured too. Jeremy Lin, a respectable player but far from the days of “Linsanity” with the New York Knicks, is fourth amongst all guards in the West.

Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Some good news for Teague comes from NBA.com, which states the rules for choosing the All-Star reserves entails: “In selecting reserves for the 2014 NBA All-Star Game, the 30 NBA head coaches must vote for seven players within their conference, including two guards, three front court players and two players regardless of position. Coaches are not permitted to vote for players on their own team.”

There might be some coaches who vote for Teague strictly on the basis of feeling he should represent his team, which currently holds a high seed in the East.

At the same time, though, the coaches do the best to honor the fans' wishes based on the voting results, which puts Teague in a tough spot given he did not finish in the top 10 for voting for his position.

To put it simply, Teague does not have the popularity or the stats to make a case that he belongs in the All-Star Game this year.

Being that only two guards make the final cut for being a reserve All-Star for each conference, I have to say that I believe Teague has a 0 percent chance of making the Eastern Conference All-Stars this season.

As said before, he definitely can be an All-Star one day, but so far this year he has not utilized his true strengths accordingly.

The good news is that he is only 25 and has plenty of potential left.

He also plays for a franchise that clearly has a plan in mind and will most likely be making moves this offseason to make the Hawks a true threat to the Pacers and Heat in the East for years to come. This will in turn hopefully improve their popularity and thus open up doors for players like Teague to be an All-Star one day.

 

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