The Atlanta Hawks are still a good team, just nowhere near what they were last season. They are currently 24-17, fourth in the Eastern Conference.
The coaching staff has been trying to figure it out. This was head coach Mike Budenholzer’s analysis.
“We’re working on it,” Budenholzer said. “If we knew the answer, like if it was in a pill or something, we’d take it.”
No problem Mike, I’ve got your back.
In analyzing this year’s games, I came to a conclusion. Jeff Teague is a real key, and his play has been up and down.
Teague has been battling a pesky ankle sprain that has minimized his explosiveness. He needs to get it back if the Hawks are going to ascend the top tier in the Eastern Conference. The starters; Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Kent Bazemore, especially Kyle Korver, they are all better when Teague pushes the ball and attacks the rim.
Here’s the Hawks magic pill:
Games this season that Teague has six or more assists the Hawks are 12-2. When Teague doesn’t have six assists the Hawks are 12-15. That is a huge difference.
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Averaging six assists per game places an NBA player 18th in the league. So we’re not talking huge production, just solid effort.
Teague averaged 7.0 assists in 2014-15, this season he is down to only 5.6. Granted, he is playing less minutes per game this season, but that is also part of the problem.
Teague is only averaging 10 points and 4.5 assists in January. His minutes are down and he continues to not have the impact he did last season. If his ankle is hurting, the Hawks need to sit him down and let him get well.
Atlanta needs Jeff Teague healthy and explosive, like he was last season. If the Hawks want this team to resemble last years.