Harris DeckerThe rumor mills were swirling around Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague and the New York Knicks. It’s no secret that the Knicks need to upgrade their point guard but I’m not sure Teague is the solution.
Teague was drafted 2009 and has played his entire career with the Hawks, averaging 10 points, 4.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game over his career. He is a career 44 percent shooter. This year, that number has shrunk to 41 percent, the lowest of his career and ranked 47th among point guards. Raymond Felton, the Knicks struggling veteran, is ranked 51st, just a few decimals behind Teague.
The key for a point guard in New York is an ability to shoot at a high percentage, break down defenses and dish the ball to scorers like Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith. In order for this Knicks team to succeed, they need a top flight point guard. They don’t need a middle of the road guy like Teague (or Felton, for that matter).
I’m not trying to diminish Teague as a point guard. He’s a good, young player who has improved his game every year since breaking into the league. This year, he is averaging 7.2 assists per game. That’s good for 11th in the league at point guard. For reference, Kyle Lowry is ranked 9th and Felton is ranked 21st.
Of course, either Teague or Lowry would be a huge improvement over Felton, but at what cost for the future? Going after a young, talented guard like Teague or Lowry would mean that they’d still be in New York (assuming Lowry resigned with the Knicks if he were traded) when guys like Rajon Rondo and Kyrie Irving finally hit the open market. I don’t want anyone standing in the way of those two coming to New York, if that is the long term plan.
If I’m playing general manager for a minute in New York, I’m not settling for a second tier point guard again. I’m waiting, I’m being patient and I’m getting the guy that I want at that position, whomever that may be.
Steve Mills may or may not know who that guy is, but with a contract that lasts for three more seasons and pays $8 million per, Teague is just not the guy I’d want to commit to. He would be yet another stop gap at point guard, and Anthony needs a better scoring partner than Teague.