The Minnesota Timberwolves’ season is over, which means it’s time to start assessing how each player on the roster performed this year. So far in this series, we looked at Aaron Brooks, Marcus Georges-Hunt, Nemanja Bjelica, Gorgui Dieng, Jamal Crawford, Tyus Jones, Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson, and Cole Aldrich’s performances. Up next is Jeff Teague.
Teague came to the Wolves off an excellent year with the Indiana Pacers. He was brought in as an upgrade for the polarizing Ricky Rubio. Rubio was a great distributor and defender, but his scoring abilities were, to put it gently, extremely lacking. In order to spread the floor, Minnesota needed a point guard that posed a shooting threat but still was willing and able to pass. Though Teague wasn’t expected to be quite the defender Rubio was, his ability to score looked like it would be worth the price.
Teague also has mounds of playoff experience. In fact, he has played in the postseason every year of his NBA career.
Complete list of NBA players who have played a playoff game every year this decade (2010-18):— Steve Helwick (@s_helwick) May 11, 2018
Just looking at the box score numbers, it appears that Teague wasn’t quite the player he was in Indiana. However, it has to be noted that while his minutes increased with the Wolves, his usage dropped. With the Pacers, he was the second option behind Paul George, Teague was the fourth option in Minnesota.
Despite his decreasing usage, he still managed to average 14.2 points, seven assists, three rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game. In addition, he shot slightly more efficient this season than last.
It’s obvious what the greatest moment of Teague’s 2017-18 season was: Game 3. This pinnacle of the Wolves’ season was unforgettable, and it was made possible by a massive game from Teague. He had 23 points, eight assists, three rebounds and a steal. Despite playing 40 minutes, he committed just one turnover.
However, it wasn’t just his numbers that lifted Minnesota to victory. Normally calm and collected, Teague pounded his chest and roared at the crowd, embracing the thunderous atmosphere in Target Center. The confidence he brought to both the team and the arena meant that the Wolves were able to absorb the Houston Rockets attempts to get back in the game.
All in all, there’s not much to complain about with Teague’s season. He was very consistent and took good care of the ball. Additionally, he was unselfish and willing to pass, but has the intelligence to know when to be aggressive and score.
His one area of difficulty was defense. While he was passable on average point guards, he was a liability on stars. In a conference in which there is an excess of excellent point guards, this was a problem. This meant that it became Jimmy Butler’s job to guard these players, forcing him to carry a greater defensive burden.
Teague will not reach unrestricted free agency until the summer of 2020. It seems unlikely he will be traded, so expect to see him in a Wolves uniform again next year.