Jeff Teague Will Prove to be Vital for Hawks

By Ben Stinar

The Atlanta Hawks traded for point guard Jeff Teague and Treveon Graham on Thursday. In exchange, they sent Allen Crabbe to the Timberwolves.

The move is not groundbreaking to most around the NBA. However, the Hawks have not had a legitimate backup point guard to Trae Young since they waived Jeremy Lin nearly a year ago. Now, with the 31-year-old Teague, they have a former All-Star to spell Young.

When starting point guard Young, who is in the middle of an All-Star campaign, is not on the floor for the Hawks, they are putrid. At the beginning of the season, they tried to play newcomer Evan Turner in a backup point guard role, but that move failed so severely that he no longer dresses for games. Two-way player Brandon Goodwin has shown immense promise, but in the grand scheme of things, he needs a lot more time to develop before he can contribute to winning NBA games.

During the four games Young has been inactive this season, the Hawks are 1-3 and have been outscored by 58 points. If not for the one game they beat the Magic by 8 points without Young, the number would be even worse. They lost the other three games by 35 points, 22 points, 9 points, and in the win over the Magic trailed by 18 points before ultimately making a comeback.

When Young has not been on the floor, they aren't competitive.

Efficient productivity on offense needs prolific play at the point guard position. Outside of Young, there is none. No one else is a proven point guard outside of Goodwin, who has only played in 28 career NBA games.

Meanwhile, Teague, this season is averaging 13.2 points, 6.1 assists, and shooting 37.9 percent from three off of the bench. There is also his history as a starting point guard on seven playoff teams and being on two playoff teams as a bench player. Turner, who started the season as their backup point guard, is averaging 3.3 points and 2.0 assists per game, and Goodwin is averaging 6.7 points and 1.6 assists per game.

Teague is a massive upgrade.

Not only have the Hawks been bad when Young doesn't play, but when he has sat on the bench, they have been historically bad. As of December 28th, they owned the worst offensive rating as a team since 1973 when he was off the court. Now with Teague, there is a genuine point guard who can take over the offense to either let him play off of the ball or give him a breather.

There have been a lot of things that have gone wrong this season for the Hawks, but with a healthy Kevin Huerter, John Collins back from his 25 game suspension, and a new backup point guard in Teague, they could end up having a productive second bench. Teague will give a whole new look to a second unit that, on some nights, could include him, rookie Cam Reddish, veteran Alex Len and when healthy Jabari Parker.

This trade seems insignificant, but for the Hawks, this is the kind of acquisition that could change their entire season around.