Despite Jeff Teague not wanting to stay, the Atlanta Hawks are pretty sure the point guard will eventually swallow his pride by getting the same deal he would’ve accepted from the Milwaukee Bucks, and are quite confident they made the better choice by preferring him to either Monta Ellis or Brandon Jennings.
Can Jennings or Ellis score more than Teague? Probably, but it comes at a cost. Are they more athletic and explosive? Probably, but it comes at a cost. It hurts team play, and Teague is a better defender than both of them, not to mention a pass-first player, which is what you usually expect from your point guard.
Teague averaged 14.6 points and 7.2 assists last season, the best in his four-year career career, and his win share per 48 minutes from last season (.111) is better than both Ellis and Jennings, although that’s obviously not a complete determining factor.
Are the Hawks good enough to make the playoffs next season? Not right now, probably not. Paul Millsap is a nice addition, but they’re going to need more, including a healthy Lou Williams, if they want to keep their postseason streak alive, which has carried on for six more season.
Teague? He requested the Hawks not to match the $32 million, four-year offer he got from the Bucks, but the NBA isn’t about doing favors. The Hawks realized that Teague is a better prospect for their future than Jennings and obviously Ellis, even if he isn’t too happy about it right now.
The Hawks left Teague “hanging” because they wanted to see what his value is in the market. The $8 million a season seems right for a point guard who can score, hit threes and is a decent defender, not to mention fits well in a team system. The Hawks need to make a couple of more additions in terms of adding depth to the team in order to find themselves in the top 8 of the Eastern Conference once again, but keeping Teague is probably the right choice, even in this salary, and instead of the player they could have had.