I suppose I could be a tad blinded by Jeff Teague‘s second-round production in these playoffs, but it’s not as if the 16/2.5/4, with 1.5 steals he’s averaged after four postseason games against the Bulls is somehow disconnected from his future. This time last year, after the Hawks took flight from the postseason, then-coach Mike Woodson said he’d give Teague “first crack” at starting in 2010. Then Woodson was fired. So there went that … until co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. re-iterated Woodson’s plan. So they tried him out, ran him hard in the preseason and he stunk. They went with Mike Bibby instead and tried out Teague again in February. And he stunk. So then they went with Hinrich. Then Hinrich hurt himself against Orlando and Atlanta chad no choice but turn to Teague in the Chicago series. And even though Teague’s season hasn’t ended yet, the 22-year-old has already shown he can play in this league. So what might Teague offer fantasy owners next season?
/Looks at what Teague might offer fantasy owners next season. Frowns. Re-checks the stats sheets. Pours a shot of leftover Kentucky Derby bourbon. Then another. Remembers that bourbon tastes like ignited hair. Runs to the kitchen sink. Dunks head under faucet. Loses breath. Gets water inside eardrum. Now everything is muffled. Tries to remember what caused all this. Remembers Jeff Teague.\ Okay, first the bad (and most of it is bad). Teague played in 70 games, all but seven coming on as a reserve. He averaged four more minutes and two more points this year than in ’09 and boosted his FG% from an atrocious .396 to a terrible .438. The bright side is, his PER went up, his ORtg went up, his USG% went up and he displayed better defense during the 2010 regular season than he did a season earlier. Now, of course, those increases are inches in a game of miles. At 14 mpgs, Teague was like a middle-aged white guy and the Hawks were a Sly Stone concert: he just couldn’t find his rhythm. Teague shot .485 from the floor in his final year at Wake Forest, and one should assume he’ll climb his way back near that level over the next few years. Split the difference between his last college year and his first two pro years (.420) and it’s not too much to imagine him shooting at least .440 next season. Mingle that in with his improved defensive rating (105) that proved to be better than Kirk Hinrich’s (109) and we might be onto something. Again, the Hawks brass have said they want Teague to helm the team in the future, not Hinrich (a player many have labeled as a great back-up anyway). J.T. was rough in 2010, but he’s played better in his last four games than either Bibby or Hinrich in any four-game stretch this season – and in a much higher-stakes situation. I’d rather own Teague’s 14/3/5 upside in 2011, than Hinrich’s guaranteed 10/3/4.