2016 NBA Predictions: What Jeff Teague Trade Means For Pacers
The Atlanta Hawks had been in talks for weeks in regards to potentially trading star point guard Jeff Teague. The talks finally progressed into an actual trade.
Per reports, the Hawks have finalized a massive three-team trade involving the Indiana Pacers and Utah Jazz that sends Teague to Indiana. In return, Atlanta will get Indiana’s 12th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, while George Hill goes to Utah.
— The Vertical (@TheVertical) June 22, 2016
While no team makes a title-winning move here, all three teams arguably improve with this deal. Let’s break down how all three teams make out:
Indiana has been talking about upgrading at the point guard position for some time, and they did just that by bringing in Teague and shipping Hill to Utah.
Hill was always a solid one-on-one defender and could hit the outside shot, but he was not a great point guard and didn’t really create much offense for himself or others. Teague is arguably just as good of a spot-up shooter and can defend at a high level, but unlike Hill, he can create on the fly and attack the basket.
The Pacers don’t turn into title contenders here, but they get a more traditional, younger option at the point and they don’t lose anything fundamentally in the process.
The Pacers were a playoff team last year and this brings them one step closer to rising up the standings come next season. They still may want to move Monta Ellis, add some shooting depth and/or upgrade at center, but this is a big move that makes them a little better and no one can complain about it.
Utah has had issues at the point, as well, while they’ve also struggled to find consistent offense – specifically with their outside shooting. Hill gives them another shooter and they also lose nothing defensively. As a defensive-minded team, Hill looks like a strong addition on paper and he also could be a good veteran presence for their young corps of point guards.
Shelvin Mack doesn’t feel like the answer, Raul Neto isn’t ready to be the man, Dante Exum is returning from a serious knee injury and Trey Burke is best suited as a spark plug off the bench. Hill lacks elite versatility, but he gives them a steady option ahead of their other average point guards. It’s a mild upgrade as they try to trend more and more towards being a playoff team. This alone probably doesn’t accomplish that, unfortunately.
This is a great move for the Hawks, who seem to want to rebuild and compete at the same time on the fly. Luckily they already had a young point guard in Dennis Schroder working behind Teague who they really like, so trading Teague opens up the starting job for Schroder to take over.
It is certainly debatable as to whether or not Schroder is the answer, but at 22 years old, he has loads of upside and could be just what their offense needs going forward. Atlanta has other holes to address, too, so getting back the 12th overall pick could be massive, especially with Kyle Korver aging and big man Al Horford potentially leaving this summer in free agency.
Atlanta remained a solid playoff team last year, but they have clearly regressed from the #1 seed they held in the Eastern Conference just two seasons ago. If they want to get back to being a top dog in the conference, they need to shake things up a bit, while preparing for the potential loss of Horford was a necessity.
They still look like a playoff team on paper and there could be serious upside with Schorder being handed the keys to the offense, but they still have work to do if they want to keep from sliding down the ranks.
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