With the trade deadline approaching rather quickly, the Knicks and Hawks have been in discussion about a potential Jeff Teague trade. At 27-20, the Hawks are third in the East and have looked like they’ve fallen off after their remarkable season last year.
The Knicks, on the other hand, look worlds better than last year. At 22-25, they sit just two games back of the Pacers for the eighth playoff spot. Both Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis are playing great, but aside from them, and Aaron Afflalo, the Knicks struggle to create offense.
Trading for Teague would be great for the Knicks, but questionable for Atlanta. The Hawks three best players — Millsap, Horford, and Teague — are all still relatively young (30, 29, 27, respectively) and the Hawks as a team can still contend for an Eastern Conference title. If the Hawks are looking to rebuild, however, the Knicks have a bunch of young players they could trade.
Evidently, trading away Jeff Teague means the Hawks have supreme confidence in Dennis Schroder, the third year PG from Germany. Schroder has shown he can play at a high level despite his limited minutes, about 21 per game. However, his per 36 stats are eerily close to Teague’s: 18.2p/4.8r/7.9a/1.8s; 18.2p/3.3r/6.9a/1.6s for Teague.
Their play styles are very similar as well. Both guards love transition, and can also run the team in the halfcourt. When they’re in the halfcourt, they willingly pass, and can use their athleticism to get to the basket. Teague has proven to be a better finisher, though.
If the trade does happen, Atlanta will probably want a backup to Schroder, and possibly a frontcourt player. The Knicks are loaded at the PG position, and the players would all be solid backups. Jerian Grant, the rookie from Notre Dame, has the potential to develop into a reliable backup; Jose Calderon is a seasoned veteran who could mentor Schroder. Lastly, there’s Langston Galloway. Galloway’s another young point who’s shown flashes of solid scoring ability, and a nice touch from behind the arc (39% this season).
If they wanted a forward, the Knicks have Derrick Williams, Kyle O’Quinn, and Cleanthony Early. What Atlanta would like the most about these six players is that they all have contracts under eight million dollars — Teague’s current salary.
The Knicks are obviously rebuilding, and Teague would be beneficial to their offense. New York would be getting someone who can create shots for himself, something that plagues many of their players. If Teague gets playing time with the second unit, they wouldn’t be so lifeless on offense because of that ability he has. On top of that, he’s a willing passer. That willingness would benefit the starters as well. His unselfishness and basketball IQ would lead to shots for Anthony, Porzingis, and Affalo in the flow of the offense.
If you were to look at the most successful teams in the league, you’d notice they have someone who can facilitate their offense. The Warriors have Stephen Curry & Draymond Green; Cleveland has LeBron James & Kyrie Irving; San Antonio has Kawhi Leonard & Tony Parker. While Teague doesn’t put up numbers like those guys, he’s a proven floor general. Right now, the Knicks don’t have a player who facilitates at a high level, and Teague would be able to provide that to them.
Jeff Teague could be the once piece the Knicks need to move them up the standings and into the playoffs. He would also be a superb teacher to any young guard on their team.
*Photo credit: David Zalubowski / AP Photo*