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NBA Atlanta Hawks

Jeff Teague is Vital to Success for Atlanta Hawks

Jeff Teague Atlanta Hawks

Daniel Shirey – USA Today Sports Images

When the Atlanta Hawks finally parted ways with Joe Johnson via trade this past off-season, it was very much the front-office and coaching staff giving a vote of confidence to Jeff Teague. Without Johnson and then after the injury to Lou Williams, Teague would have to assume the bulk of the perimeter-scoring duties, as well as continue to distribute the basketball. For most of this season, Teague has fit wonderfully into that role.

On the season, Teague has averaged 14.3 points, 7.1 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 45 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from beyond the arc. His points and assist marks are both career-highs by pretty wide margins, despite the fact that he’s playing the same amount of minutes per game that he did last season.

Even more impressive than the entire season for Teague was how he played in the month of February. Over the 11 games the Hawks played in the month, Teague averaged 18.3 points and 9.3 assists per game, and shot the ball at 49.6 percent efficiency from the field and at 37.2 percent efficiency from 3-point territory. He was rolling. It’s also not a coincidence that the Hawks were 7-4 over that month.

The first three games of March have been an entirely different story for Teague, though. Over that short stretch, Teague has averaged just 9.7 points and 4.7 assists per game. He’s also shot the ball at just 30 percent from the floor and hasn’t hit a three, despite taking six attempts from long-range. Once again, it’s not a coincidence that the Hawks are 0-3 so far in March.

Teague isn’t the most talented player for Atlanta, but he keeps them moving. He’s a talented and pretty efficient scorer and is great at running the Hawks’ offense. If they want to go anywhere in the postseason or continue to stay where they are in terms of the NBA’s Eastern Conference standings, Teague has to get out of his recent slump.

If Teague slumps, the Hawks slump — it’s that simple.

Cody Williams is a Senior NBA Writer with Rant Sports. Follow Cody on Twitter @TheSizzle20 and like his Facebook page.