It’s hard not to chuckle when an established player says that being traded is the “Best news I’ve heard in years.” That was Jeff Teague’s reaction when he learned his seven-years Hawks tenure was coming to an end and that he would play out his 2016-17 contract year with his hometown Pacers. There were plenty of reasons for possible discontent: Teague (15.7 PPG, 5.9 APG) was in a battle for minutes (and future dollars) with back-up Dennis Schroder, his overall efficiency and production were off last season, the Hawks took a major step back in the standings, and the team’s offense wasn’t nearly as potent as it was during their dream 2014-15 run to the East finals. This is clean slate time for the 28-year-old Teague, a 2015 All-Star whose elite quickness and strong pick-and-roll game helped him oversee some very good offenses during his time in Atlanta. An improved outside shooter, Teague is nevertheless used to a loose leash and the ball in his hands. Priority one in Indiana will therefore be striking the right balance between running Indiana’s show himself and making sure Paul George is satisfied with his touches. The good news: Indiana hasn’t had an above-average offense since 2012, so the door is wide open for Teague to prove he’s worth a major investment next summer. (Last year: No. 41)
+ Ranked in the top four league-wide in total drives in each of the last three years
+ Shot a career-best 40% from deep last season (graded out 98th percentile in catch-and-shoot, per Synergy Sports)
– Claimed to have played through a torn tendon in his knee on an Instagram post that was later deleted.
– Fell from 7th among point guards in Defensive Real Plus Minus in 2014-15 to outside the top 50