After a few weeks of an NBA offseason at hyper speed, the Celtics look to have made the majority of their moves and will be sticking with their current roster heading into next season. Their offseason was dominated by Gordon Hayward leaving Boston and heading to the Charlotte Hornets and because of this, the Celtics other acquisitions did not get the proper attention they deserved, including the addition of veteran point guard Jeff Teague.
Teague has been a journeymen with Boston being his fourth team over his 11-year career. He played a majority of his early career with the Atlanta Hawks and he actually landed back there last year to close out the season. He split between Minnesota and Atlanta, Teague averaged 10.9 points and 5.2 assists per game, not terrible when you add along this 43.6% shooting from the field and 36.8% from three-point range.
Unfortunately, it is mostly assumed his best days are behind him. He is 32 years old, and has turned into a trusty backup point guard. Teague’s glory days were the ones he had with the Hawks when they were a dominant regular season teams a few years in a row. For the Celtics, he will take on a new role as he looks to take over for Brad Wanamaker who left the Celtics this offseason for the Golden State Warriors.
Teague will be a nice upgrade over Wanamaker. He’s been in big moments and knows how to score and facilitate in an offense that will need some veteran leadership. His shot may have dipped from where it was at the peak of his career, but his playmaking is still something that teams will need to watch for. Teague attacks the rim when a play breaks down and tries to create close to the basket. He averaged 3.3 free throw attempts a game which can be necessary for a youung bench unit that may lack firepower.
Another aspect that Jeff Teague will bring to the Celtics is that he can take minutes from Kemba Walker when he needs rest or time off. Again, Teague has been there and knows how to run an offense. This will be very important in a condensed season that will test the depth of many teams around the league. Teague will address a need the Celtics needed to fill this offseason.
There are some limitations to his game that do need to be expected this upcoming season. Teague does not play the defense he once did in his older years. This isn’t to say it will be a huge hole, but it could be something other teams exploit while he is out there with any starting units. He is long for his position but does not have the lateral quickness he once had. Also, the second half of last season was not a success with the Hawks. He backed up Trae Young but was never able to bring stability to the bench unit when Young sat. It will be a huge question mark coming into this season with high hopes he just needed a change of scenery.
Even with that said, the Celtics are hoping to turn back the clocks a bit and get the best version of Jeff Teague this season. He told HoopsHype that joining a winning team was a priority and chose the Celtics because of that. It can be a great match with a veteran player who knows his role and is a proven leader. He can be a mentor to many of these young kids who are a super majority on the roster. Teague will be the longest tenure player on the Celtics.
Something else to look for is a possible Brad Stevens Effect that could come into play. Teague was in Minnesota and then Atlanta over the last two seasons, and a Stevens game plan could find a way to fit his game better than previous coaches. Everyone knows how Stevens can unlock things out of players that not many other basketball leaders can. This could be a fresh start that Teague needed under great tutelage.
At the end of the day, the signing of Jeff Teague was a solid move for Danny Ainge ad the Celtics’ front office. They got him for the veteran minimum, and he will fill the void of a backup point guard that they did not want rookie Payton Pritchard to take over. Teague is a solid playmaker that can give the bench a different feel from last year. He may have limitations on the defensive side of the ball, but he will bring a locker room veteran presence that this team will need. He and Kemba can be a formidable pair of point guards sharing time. Jeff Teague looks like he wanted to come to a contender while getting a new change of scenery. Boston and this roster could be a great pairing for another championship run.