Trading Jeff Teague Was a Win-Win for the Atlanta Hawks
In the NBA world, it's not often that a trade -- let alone a three-team deal of this magnitude -- gets done at this time of the year. With the majority of the front office focusing on the draft, it's rather unusual.
You won't see NBA fans complaining about that. This is nothing short of an exciting transaction -- and for multiple reasons.
Not only does it stir the pot on the Twitter timeline, but it also adds to the mystery of the forthcoming draft. The best part of all, though, is that each of these teams seem to take something of good value away from this exchange.
At a glance, it's a shuffling of starting point guards. The further you dig, though, the more you see that there is much more to the hand that was played by each team.
After further evaluation still, it's clear that the Hawks take the pot in this one.
What It Means for Utah
The lone piece the Jazz give up in the move is the 12th overall pick in the draft, with which NBA analysts were unsure what the Utah front office would do. Some thought they could go best available while others expected them to trade pick and acquire an asset or two in the meantime.
The wide range of possibilities was a product of a very young, talented, and cohesive team already in place. The Jazz have enjoyed several successful picks in recent drafts, which has left them with an outstanding core, especially on the defensive end of the floor, where the Jazz finished second in opponent points per game (95.9) and seventh in points allowed per 100 possessions (103.9).
After all is said and done, the Jazz exchanged their pick for the sake of adding George Hill and his valuable experience to their roster of young, promising players.
With eight seasons and 75 playoff games under his belt, Hill is a valuable leader to add to the mix. Even if that's not enough, he's a perfect fit for the Jazz and their game plan going forward.
In his five seasons in Indiana, Hill wasn't a great defender but, nonetheless, averaged 2.7 Defensive Win Shares while averaging a steal per contest. He caused problems for shorter point guards and could occasionally cover sizable two-guards wit his lengthy 6'3" frame.
On the flip side, Hill doesn't exactly light up the scoreboard offensively. He averaged a shade over 12 points on 44% shooting a year ago and has maxed out at just 16.1 points (albeit, in a shortened season) a game in his time with the Pacers. But Hill brings an improved three-point shot (40.8% in 2015-16) out west, not to mention his willingness to defer to others' playmaking abilities.
In his five years in Indiana, Hill deferred often to Paul George and even to Monta Ellis this past season. The only time he saw a Usage Rate north of 18.8% is when George missed most of the 2014-15 season due to injury.
With playmakers such as Gordon Hayward and Rodney Hood -- and their Usage Rates of 25.7% and 21.5%, respectively -- blending in and contributing off the ball shouldn't be any sort of problem for Hill or the Jazz this season.
What It Means for Indiana
By parting ways with head coach Frank Vogel and Hill, the Pacers are undoubtedly looking to shake things up a bit this offseason. Who can really blame them after checking out of the first round in this year's playoffs?
With a turn toward future success, the Pacers added Jeff Teague to replace Hill at the very same position. And, in case you're wondering, this wasn't a move based on salary. Both players are locked in for this season under identical $8 million contracts.
This trade was made entirely for Teague's skills and style of play.
Carrying a career Defensive Box Plus-Minus (DBPM) of -0.9, Teague isn't known as a hard-nosed defender. It's no secret that the Pacers are bringing him in for offensive purposes, to help manufacture a better attack alongside George.
Last year, the Pacers needed someone to take some pressure shot-making and playmaking responsibilities off of their superstar. Hill and an aging Ellis weren't the answer.
Teague, a great pick-and-roll point man, took on a career-high Usage Rate of 26.6% a year ago in Atlanta and, while doing so, put up averages of 15.7 points and 5.9 assists in 28.5 minutes per contest.
It'll be interesting to see how things go for Teague absent Dennis Schröder breathing down his neck. He could prove to be the right-hand man George and the Pacers have needed so badly.
What It Means for Atlanta
Speaking of Schröder, he could be the biggest beneficiary of this trade. He's been sitting in the wings awaiting his chance for three years, and now it's time for him to get his shot.
In his first few seasons, he's struggled to get consistent playing time behind Teague (18.3 minutes per game), but with latter gone, it's the former who should add to his 20-minute allotment a year ago.
Sure, the 22-year-old ended the year with poor metrics, but we'll finally get a better look at how he fits. His averages of 11.0 points and 4.4 assists can go nowhere but up, just like his fantasy stock.
Yes, that's right. For those of you dynasty players who have held on to and believed in the young German for so long, he could finally pay off this season.
If opening up time for Schröder was the key reason for this trade, getting the 12th overall pick is a crazy-good kicker. At the 12 slot, the Hawks could have their choice of directions to go. Young bigs such as Deyonta Davis and Henry Ellenson could be available, while wing prospects like Malachi Richardson, Denzel Valentine, and Taurean Prince might also be ready to add to the equation in Atlanta.
Either way, the Hawks essentially get two players -- Schröder and the pick -- for the price of one, Jeff Teague.
Another little perk as a result of moving Teague is the fact that the Hawks have a total cap hit of roughly $47.5 million going into free agency. And with the cap projected to hit $94 million, that leaves Atlanta with nearly $47 million to work some deals and add to the talent on their current roster.
One of their options will be to re-sign unrestricted free agent Al Horford. However, if they decide to go a different route, they will have the resources to make a significant impact in the race for the services of Hassan Whiteside.
Either way, the Hawks will have a big man to reckon with down low, alongside Paul Millsap. Regardless of who they sign, Atlanta will have at least $25 or so million to work on a deal for another star, or duo of stud players, to make for a pretty scary starting five. Free agent wings such as DeMar DeRozan, Nicolas Batum, and Luol Deng would make the most sense if Kent Bazemore bolts in free agency.
Clearly, Atlanta has some decisions to make, but they're not in a predicament by any meaning of the word. This one smart decision has given them almost endless opportunities going into the draft and further into the offseason.