The best Hawks point guards, history will show, came with catchy nicknames to match their nifty games.
Doc (Glenn) Rivers ran the show during the other golden – really more of a bronze – age of Hawks basketball. And who knew troubled Mookie Blaylock had a real name? The Internet says it was Daron.
Jeff Teague had no such nom de hoops, nor did he really earn one. After seven seasons with the Hawks, the overriding impression of Teague was, despite his obvious talents and even an All-Star season, more that of an enigma than a figure worthy of a colorful name accessory.
Reflective of that was how blithely he was dismissed when traded this week to Indiana. The fan reaction seemed muted, even by Hawks standards. And, with one season left on his contract, his value translated to no better than a middling first-round draft pick that never got packaged for anything better come Thursday’s harvest.
Goodbye just plain Jeff, we hardly knew ye.
Here’s how Teague, the floor leader during the team’s most successful season (2014-15), compared with other bygone and noted Atlanta Hawks point guards:
Teague (2009-16) – 518 games, 12.1 points per game, 5.2 assists per game, 1.2 steals per game.
Doc Rivers (1983-91) – 568 games, 13.0 ppg, 6.8 apg, 2.1 spg.
Mookie Blaylock (1992-99) – 518 games, 14.9 ppg, 7.3 apg, 2.6 spg.
Jason Terry (1999-2004) – 403 games, 16.2 ppg, 5.5 apg, 1.5 spg.
So, no, Teague, for all the quickness and the guile he surely possessed, did not carve a particularly distinctive niche in the line of Hawks point guards. Much due to an assertiveness that seemed to have an off-on switch (think the dying seconds of a close game, Teague with the ball at the top of the key, and, then … nothing). Too infrequently did the on-court personality betray the will to win that surely resided inside him.
Now, then, hand the keys over to Dennis Schroder. He seems to have the edge that Teague lacked, while not always demonstrating the ability to harness it. Splicing the two players would have been such a perfect solution, but sadly we lack the technology.
Better make sure the insurance is paid up and you buckle up. The ride just got a little wilder.