It was a well-known fact that the Atlanta Hawks were looking to move their starting point guard Jeff Teague for a big package this offseason, and the deal came to fruition on Wednesday. The Hawks will be sending Teague to the Indiana Pacers in a three-team trade. The Pacers will receive Teague from the Hawks and they will send George Hill to the Utah Jazz. In exchange for Hill, the Jazz will send the No. 12 overall pick to the Hawks. The Pacers absolutely won this trade as they got a major upgrade in their backcourt while giving up very little.
The fact is that Teague is a significantly better point guard than Hill. Teague is two years younger and a much better athlete and distributor than the 30-year-old Hill. In his career, Teague has averaged 7.1 assists per game, while Hill has only managed a measly 3.3. Hill has always been thought of as more of a scoring guard, but even in that capacity Teague has been able to outdo him. He has shot similar percentages to Hill all his career and scored more points per game this past season.
The bigger piece to the Hill/Teague comparison is how Teague fits in with the Pacers. The team needed a better distributor to help Paul George run the offense, and Teague will give them just that. Working as the No. 2 option in their offense, he will be able to open up the floor a little bit more and allow more space for George to get open while also creating lanes for Monta Ellis to drive through.
As for Hill’s fit in Utah, it makes a lot of sense. The team needed an upgrade at the point guard position, and Hill will give them that. As a result of acquiring him, they can move Shelvin Mack to the bench where he is better suited to be an energy guy. However, giving up the No. 12 pick for a 30-year-old who is slightly below average in terms of a starting point guard is questionable. They likely overpaid to get this upgrade.
Finally, for the Hawks this trade is a mixed bag. They no longer wanted to start Teague due to the emergence of Dennis Schroder, but he was still one of their better players last year. The Hawks may be starting a mini-rebuild as they could lose Al Horford to free agency, and the No. 12 pick will help them replace him. Perhaps adding a big man like Henry Ellenson or Skal Labissiere could help fill the void and give the Hawks a potential-packed player.
At the end of the day, the big winner in this trade is the Pacers. They got a proven NBA starter who still has a solid four years left in his prime, provided that the knee injury that plagued him this past season can be kept in check. The Hawks and Jazz got some nice pieces that will help them, but they are still getting the short end of the stick in this deal.