Jeff Teague, In Memoriam

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 04: Jeff Teague /

Thank you for the memories, Jeff Teague (2016-2017).

Jeff Teague, 29, of Indianapolis, Indiana (formerly of Atlanta, Georgia), said his goodbyes to his hometown Indiana Pacers after one year as the solution to the George Hill problem (that wasn’t really a problem). Signing with Minnesota on July 1, 2017, Teague decided that a potentially Paul George-less Pacers were much less appetizing than the Jimmy Butler-ful Timberwolves.

He had a love for his state, for correcting himself, and for forgetting his Twitter password. Despite only being a Pacer for a year, he was loved by many (mostly people that wanted to be right about George Hill). With a rebuild in the works, the money and fit didn’t make sense for Indiana to keep him. Still, his memory will live on, and his season, which was pretty okay, will be looked upon semi-fondly for years to come.

Teague vs. Hill

A common question asked by many Pacers fans all of last offseason was this: does an on-ball, offensive point guard (Teague) work better than an off-ball, defensive point guard (Hill) in the effort to get back to the Eastern Conference Finals? With the generally positive reviews of the three-way swap that landed Teague in Indiana and Hill in Utah, it seemed as if Pacers fans were content with figuring that answer out.

Direct comparisons, of course, were inevitable with these two point guards. After a hot start to the season from Hill, buyer’s remorse quickly flooded the minds of everyone who had supported off-season trade. However, on Indiana’s side of things, an offensive point guard was asked for, and an offensive point guard was delivered. Teague’s first and last campaign with the Pacers left him at averages of 15.3 points, 7.8 assists and 4.0 rebounds a game.

Compared to Hill’s 16.9 points, 4.2 assists and 3.4 rebounds per contest, Teague only looked marginally more impactful on offense, but he did deliver the playmaking that was asked of him. For example, Paul George, the man the Pacers attempted to please with the trade for Teague, was able to shoot way more shots off of assists rather than his own creation, many of which came from a pass from Teague. This season, 51.3 percent of George’s shots came off of an assist — an increase from his figure of 45.5 percent last year. 81.5 percent of George’s shots behind the arc came from an assist in 2016-2017, while the number was a mere 71 percent last year without Teague. George, of course, had his most efficient year as an NBA player ever, with career highs in field goal percentage and 3-point percentage. In that sense, Teague did his job.

In other ways, though, Teague fell short. His 3-point shooting was expected to be one of his most valuable assets; he shot 35.7 percent from deep last year. That number is a steep dropoff from the 40.0 percent mark he hit in his final year with Atlanta, though he had traditionally shot around that mark during most of his career (he’s a career 35.5 percent 3-point shooter). Hill, on the other hand, finished this year at 40.3 percent from deep. And, as expected, Teague’s defensive capabilities were a major glaring error in a defense that was already full of holes. Hill’s impact was sorely missed in that area.

But, there is one comparison that can’t be avoided, and perhaps trumps all others: Teague played a full 82 games with the Pacers, while Hill played 49.

Teague was an aggressive player- even more aggressive than George at times. He lead the team in free-throw attempts at 5.1 per game, and was 13th in the NBA in drives (during a year where aggressive basket-attacking was commonplace across the league). He was, in simple terms, a good player who made good contributions to an alright team. He definitely did what was expected of him, though he didn’t go too far beyond that. He didn’t go MIA during the playoffs like some of his teammates. His performance was good enough to make the team competitive if everything else had fallen into place. For $8 million, the Pacers definitely got their money’s worth.

Now in Minnesota, Teague will have the chance to make a (possibly futile) shot at the Warriors with his new squad, featuring Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. He’s also going to be much richer, which is deserved for how cheap his former contract was. Thanks for the memories, 44. It was an above-average experience.


Teague is survived by the supposed next Pacers starting point guard, Lance Stephenson, which apparently excites a lot of people. Other options could include these fellas, though whoever it is will almost undoubtedly be a lesser, cheaper point guard than Teague.

NEXT: Paul George is headed to the Oklahoma City Thunder

His services will be held during the next Miller Time Podcast, where Flava Dave will brag about being right.