With the loss of starting point guard Kirk Hinrich to a hamstring injury, the Atlanta Hawks were forced to insert seldom used back-up Jeff Teague into the starting lineup. Since being drafted 19th overall by the Hawks in 2009, the 6'2 point guard averaged a measly 4 points and 2 assists per game.
Although he logged nine minutes total in the Hawks' first round series against the Orlando Magic, Teague has gone step-for-step with Chicago Bulls MVP Derrick Rose. The Bulls series has been an aberration for the young point guard. In the 5 games so far in the series, Teague has averaged 17 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds. He has also been able to take advantage of his speed on the fast-break and find open shooters when he drives to the basket.
Arguably Teague's greatest asset in the series so far has been his ability to run the offense and make quality decisions. He has only had 5 turnovers in the series, compared to his counterpart Derrick Rose, who has accounted for 18.
Hawks Head Coach Larry Drew has been quite impressed by the play of his second year point guard.
“Derrick Rose is good, it’s no fluke he’s MVP. But clearly Jeff Teague is not taking a step back as far as the challenge," says Drew. "He’s attacking with just as much aggression."
Even if the Hawks lose the series, it's encouraging to see that the Hawks have found a quality point guard. It's look more and more like Hinrich will permanently lose his starting spot. If this happens, there will be plenty of interested teams in acquiring Hinrich this summer.