When players are made

Hawks rookie point guard Jeff Teague is turning heads already, and training camp doesn't start for three weeks.

Hawks rookie point guard Jeff Teague is turning heads already, and training camp doesn't start for three weeks.

HAWKSVILLE - First impressions amongst your peers in the NBA can go a long way.

For Hawks rookie point guard Jeff Teague, the buzz traveled from an impressive mini-camp in late July all the way through Labor Day and until now.

And it’s not just his Hawks teammates that have noticed. His point guard peers around the league, at least the veterans that have been on the floor with him this summer (and mainly in the past week or so at the Hawks’ practice facility), have noticed. And they see plenty that they like about the former Wake Forest star.

“The one thing that sticks out to me is that he makes shots,” said former Hawks point guard Anthony Johnson, who plays in Orlando these days but still calls Atlanta home in the offseason. “That’s going to go a long way here in the system he’ll be in and really in his career. If you’re a guy that can get shots, that can make shots and create shots, you’ve got the package you’ll need to be successful. And he’s got all that.”

Teague has all that and more from what I saw on the floor in back-to-back days last week. Not only is he super quick and fearless going to the basket (he dunked on a fast break in one game, getting up and down before Josh Smith could even turn to think about sending the ball into orbit), Teague can score in a variety of ways. He has a sweet pull up jumper in traffic, a push shot in the lane and can spot up from all over the floor and knock down shots as well.

Sure, you say it’s just pick up games in early September. Yeah, training camp hasn’t even started yet. But those first impressions are what count. And not one person left that gym on either day questioning Teague’s game. The veterans, the youngsters, the NBA stars and the guys looking for their next gig in Europe, they all agreed that Teague was even more impressive than they expected.

“He’s going to make things really interesting,” said Hawks forward Marvin Williams, a Tar Heel not prone to praising a Demon Deacon. “I just love that he’s been here all this time. It’s a clear indicator of where his mind is in terms of what he has to do this season. That’s the kind of attitude you want to see in a rookie or anybody else when they are coming into a new team. Plus, I feel like basketball players are made in the summer time. That’s when people are relaxing and doing whatever. The guys that put in the work in the summer time, that’s when it really shows in the season. Because the truth is you don’t really have time to work on your individual game as much as you’d like to during the season. And everybody can tell who’s done the work and who hasn’t. Jeff Teague has done the work.”

MORRIS, TOO?

One of the favorite punching bags around here, Randolph Morris has done his fair share of work this summer as well. In fact, I’d argue that no [Hawks] player has undergone a more radical physical transformation this summer than Morris, who has shed some 60 pounds from his 6-11 frame in an effort to break into the playing rotation in his second season with the team.

“The work I did was both mental and physical,” he said after a recent workout. “I was trying to get myself where I needed to be mentally and physically for the long season. Just as important for me is working for the short term where I can try to get on the court this year. It was really a two-pronged approach for me this summer like it is every summer. It was about working to get myself in the best shape possible for the upcoming season while also realizing that the guys that last in the NBA are the ones that take the best care of their bodies. The guys that have the longest careers are the ones that you see in the gym in the dead of summer, when there are no cameras and no fans around. That’s where the real work is done.”

I’m still not sure if Morris will end up in the plans (or the playing rotation) this season, but I have to give it up to him for the full body makeover he pulled off this summer. As a guy who could stand to shed a few pounds himself, it’s inspiring to see someone start from where he did and end up where he is now.

SIMS IN THE FOLD

Courtney Sims is now comfirmed as yet another training camp invitee for the Hawks. I’m hearing the total group will number at least 18 and possibly as many as 23 or 24. That sounds a bit on the high end to me. This is a team that already has so many roster spots set, there’s little need to add a ton of extra bodies to the training camp mix.

253 comments Add your comment

Astro Joe

September 10th, 2009
8:46 pm

Sekou, good stuff. Thrilled to hear the reports on Teague. And Marvin only reiterated what many of us have been suggesting for a while about building basketball skills during the summer and not trying to do it in the midst of the season.

Astro Joe

September 10th, 2009
8:49 pm

Oops, was I supposed to say FIRST?

Sekou Smith

September 10th, 2009
8:49 pm

Working on a new set up here, so be patient with me please.

niremetal

September 10th, 2009
8:51 pm

Hey, I think it never hurts to invite a few more. Gives the team a couple extra chances to find a diamond in the rough.

Good news about Morris –> bad news for Siler. I don’t think Morris will be a rotation player here unless there is a huge slew of frontcourt injuries, but that’s more a testament to the Hawks’ newfound frontcourt depth than a knock on him.

Sekou Smith

September 10th, 2009
8:58 pm

Folks have been raving about Teauge all summer. His slight build will throw you at first. Because he’s not a terribly big guy you might assume he’s not capable of the explosive plays I’ve seen him make. He could makes things really interesting on that second unit this season.

Astro Joe

September 10th, 2009
8:58 pm

Kind of interesting that Morris somehow thinks that his previous body was what was holding him back. I remember when Solo spent a summer working on his body and seemingly forgot to work on his on-court game. Hopefully, Morris hasn’t made a similar mistake.

Coach D

September 10th, 2009
9:09 pm

Am willing to bet Mike Bibby hasn’t even tried to guard Teague yet, correct? Great stuff Sekou! Am hoping Teague is the real deal. Can you compare him to anyone in the league recently?

Sautee

September 10th, 2009
9:10 pm

Sekou, thanks. Good stuff. After Acie, though I’m almost afraid to be too excited about Teague. I’m sure you know what I mean.

On another subject….Anybody else think that “Jimmy Football” is the absolute stupidest ad campaign ever? Bud Light has made me laugh often with their ads, but this latest effort is atrocious. I THINK (and hope) that they thought it was SO stupid it was cute.

Wrong.

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog.

By the way GT is straight up KILLIN’ Clemson.

Sautee

September 10th, 2009
9:14 pm

Astro Joe,

A very belated head nod. Actually I nodded a few days ago when you made that great post. And you were correct.

Ernest

September 10th, 2009
9:21 pm

Thanks for the update, Sekou! Did RandMo play in the pickup games? If so, how did he look?

Hawkshurrah

September 10th, 2009
9:26 pm

Sekou, Having seen Acie in his first summer after being drafted and now Teague, pls compare and contrast what you have seen? Did Acie also look good in the summer? Were his teammates / practice partners also upbeat before his first season? Did he make plays that had you as excited as you are about Teague? Just trying to get a feel for how unusual the praise now being heaped on Teague may be. Thx

Steve

September 10th, 2009
9:27 pm

Steve Lavin on ESPN said before the draft that in 5 years Jeff Teague would be the best PG from this draft period. Glad he was around when the Hawks drafted – hope he stays healthy.

Doug

September 10th, 2009
9:41 pm

Teague will be the real deal. Just give him time Woody…live with some inconsistency and watch him grow. Together with Crawford they will have the most explosive backcourt scoring off the bench in the East. Let the thourghbreds be thourghbreds Woody and the Hawks could be as exciting as anyone!

Ariose

September 10th, 2009
9:43 pm

Sekou, Teagues not terribly big? What? It must be the T-Shirts he’s wearing. Coming from a fellow ectomorph, I’m here to tell ya for a guy my age, with that frame, he’s big. Especially with his matabolisim working against him at ALL times(which freaking sucks BTW). Just look at the AJC photos of the guy. He’s ripped. He could be small, but he’s chosen not to be. That takes a lot of painful work for a frame like that my friends, i’m here to tell ya.

Ariose

September 10th, 2009
9:47 pm

Doug, Jus read your posts to me on the last blog lol….didn’t mean to ignore ya. I musta been away for that page lol. Look, i’ll stop missing the guy as soon as crwford takes his first jumpshot on the regular season(or pre-season). You can hold me to that, you wont here a peep from me about him anymore…..unless “you know who” FAILS :twisted:

Obvioulsly I want him(and the team) to succeed though.

Ryder

September 10th, 2009
9:59 pm

Living up here in VA I saw a lot of Teague last year during ACC play. Let me tell you guys, he is amazing. He knows how to be a leader on the floor and get the ball in the basket.

That said, I’m glad that Bibby is here to help show him the ropes during the first coulple of years. He will get his chance to play and lead what now looks like a very potent bench.

It will be interesting to see if Woodson will actually use his bench more this year (especially the bigs like Joe Smith, Collins and Zaza) just to add some more beef in the paint.

Ariose

September 10th, 2009
10:00 pm

Courtney? How Tall is he?? Sekou, When you get the lest lemme know who all of the SF’s are….Gerald Green!!! 8-O

ATL (JBEATZ)

September 10th, 2009
10:17 pm

WELL IM GLAD I WILL HAVE A GOOD TEAM ON 2K10 THIS YEAR THANKS HAWKS!

Ariose

September 10th, 2009
10:26 pm

Heck Yea!!!!

swatguy

September 10th, 2009
10:38 pm

Good read SS,
Wow, as many as 23-24 huh. It reads to me, Sund may be open to more dealing. With two expirings (Mo and Randy) among the guarantees, roster may not be set.

Will John Lucas me in camp?

The American Dream

September 10th, 2009
10:41 pm

Teague is looking good but he’s still no match for me in the cage. This Saturday afternoon I will be wrestling Bobby the Night Rider Smith at the Dairy King parking lot in Sand Mountain, Alabama. Everyone is welcome to come out for a good time. I promise to wear my Jon Koncak Hawks jersey that Hosea Williams gave me back in 1989 when myself and the Rock and Roll Express were living beneath an underpass. God rest Hosea! The Hawks should sign my old buddy Steve Skyscraper Slater. He is over 7 feet tall and even if Shaq comes into the paint the old Skyscraper would nail him with one of his patented double drop kicks. Every team needs a thug. Who is our thug? Who on our team will mix it up? Zaza? Marvin? Al? Mike Woodson? I would trade em all for one good season from Bill Lambeer or Kurt Rambis. Heck put some shorts on old Woody. I recall that he used to mix it up back in the days.

Darrin "The Vent King"

September 10th, 2009
11:00 pm

Good news. Just hope that Milk Dud Dome doesn’t hate on Teague and ruin him b4 he gets a chance 2 get going like he usually does rookies.

Mystikal

September 10th, 2009
11:11 pm

Wheewww!! Tech made it out alive. Seemingly tried their best to blow a 24 pt lead, but eeked out the win, 30-27!

A Tribe Called Quest

September 10th, 2009
11:22 pm

Morris has shed 60 pounds? Wtf? Does he look like Solo now?

Ramon

September 10th, 2009
11:22 pm

American Dream, who was the Lakers’ ‘thug’

rodent of unusual size

September 10th, 2009
11:32 pm

It’s early but it’s always good to hear positive things. I remember reading the comments on ESPN about Sheldon Williams after summer league, basically saying it was clear he was going to be a a huge bust, and we all know how that turned out. . Of all Billy’s mistakes that’s the one that he really has no excuse for.

I am less optimistic about Morris because I am not sure he really has the talent to be a factor in this league but at least this year he is giving it a legit effort.

But the truth is I really like this team., I think we one great player ( can you say Brandon Roy) , and maybe one great coach, away from truly being able to commit with the big boys.
My goal for this year is to pass Boston which is possible if Garrett does not stay healthy.
I really do not see Wallace helping them that much at this point in his career. Ray Allen also began to show his age at times last year as well.

blonju

September 10th, 2009
11:33 pm

thanks for the informative blog seiko! i will hold my breath on teague until i see him play effectively in a regular season game .. obviously, i like what we’re hearing .. who is your bet for the 13th spot?

i am so excited for the season! i wish it would hurry up and get here!

Big Ray

September 11th, 2009
12:52 am

Good news on Teague, and not the first I’ve heard. I’m looking forward to him pushing hard for time. Nothing’s better than a guy who makes it very hard for you to NOT play him. And I think Teague will do just that. If Teague continues to represent himself well, he may just get the minutes Sekou originally suggested he might get.

Ariose ,

That was one sick J-Smoove link you posted late on the last blog. I’m damn glad he’s a Hawk. And I hope to see 82 games worth of those kinds of highlights this year. I’m glad to hear that he basically says he’s not enamored of the 3-ball. I still disagree with anybody that says he doesn’t need to develop a jumper. He absolutely DOES need a midrange jumper. But his bread and butter should be finishing on the break, slashing to the basket, and scoring inside when presented with the opportunity.

And you’re right about Teague: kid is ripped. He doesn’t have to be thick to be strong. Just ask Allen Iverson.

Vava74 ,

That comment you made last blog about the Memphis Grizzlies averaging 5 assists per game with that lineup was just hilarious! And probably not far from true…

Big Ray

September 11th, 2009
12:57 am

Glad to hear that Morris has lost 60 pounds. I hope his mental changeover also included a motivation makeover. Losing 60 pounds is a beginning, but what in the heck did he weigh last year? He was listed at 270, and I doubt he has come all the way down to 210. So either the listing was wrong (he was easily over 300), or dude now looks like a crackhead.

In either case, that has less to do with playing good defense and rebounding, two things he will have to show significant improvement in (read: gargantuan improvement) to get in the game ahead of, or beside Joe Smith, Zaza Pachulia, and Jason Collins. Congrats to Morris on his weight loss. I’ll not hold my breath on the rest of it. Had hopes for him when we signed him. We’ll see.

Big Ray

September 11th, 2009
12:58 am

Steelers win a tough one against Tennessee. I can’t wait to watch the Falcons take on the Dolphins this Sunday!

"Hometeam" Brandon Leak

September 11th, 2009
1:06 am

Sekou-he will impress. He goes hard, can use both hands and always has his head up when running the break. Good spark plug off of the bench, I think he will be a big timer after a few years in the weight room.

D-Nice

September 11th, 2009
1:16 am

Morris is plenty talented. I remember watching a game he played in high school against Dwight and he was tit for tat and actually came out better statistically. For what ever reason he did not improve I dont know but by virtue of him being in the league tells me he has talent enough. I see him being better than Shelden (LOL).

Matt the Brave

September 11th, 2009
1:18 am

Sekou, weird question, but what is your favorite NBA game franchise and what system do you play it on?

Also, what do you think the Hawks will have for the second team (more than likely)? I know our first team will be Smith, Johnson, Horford, Bibby, and Williams. Thanks for the answers!

BosnianBaller

September 11th, 2009
1:23 am

Hey Sekou anything new on Joe Johnson contract extension?

Big Ray

September 11th, 2009
1:29 am

D-Nice,

Dwight Howard was nothing back then like he is now. He didn’t have the strength he has now. Morris was just about always as big as he is now (or rather, last year). Morris has skills, yes. But they have yet to translate to the floor in real playing time. He has some offensive polish. Can’t say much good about the rest of his game, though.

Big Ray

September 11th, 2009
1:29 am

D-Nice,

Dwight Howard was nothing back then like he is now. He didn’t have the strength he has now. Morris was just about always as big as he is now (or rather, last year). Morris has skills, yes. But they have yet to translate to the floor in real playing time. He has some offensive polish. Can’t say much good about the rest of his game, though.

Big Ray

September 11th, 2009
1:30 am

Can’t believe I double posted. That never happens. Honestly…

darrell starks

September 11th, 2009
1:36 am

We have 2 wait and see if teague is ready for the big dogs,this is the same thing said about acie law until woody desrtoyed his confidence.
GO HAWKS!!!!!

Mystikal

September 11th, 2009
1:47 am

Teague is younger and far more athletic than Acie Law was. Plus, he played with and against better talent while at Wake Forest. Law was the best player on his team and had to be the man for them to be relevant. Teague was at best 3rd most talented on his team, but his skill level and aggressiveness put him in the spotlight. None of this tells us how he will be down the road, but i’m already convince he’s better than Law.

vava74

September 11th, 2009
3:18 am

Ken,

I am sorry to hear about your loss. I cannot even imagine how it feels to experience something like that.

Having relatives in the military does involve always having the thought of losing them at some stage in the back of one’s mind, however, losing them that way, on a 5th commission of duty, must give you a “russian roulette feeling”: that their luck was pushed to the limit unjustifiably.

Ed

September 11th, 2009
3:44 am

The biggest difference between Acie’s chances of success and Teague’s is that Woody didn’t want to draft Acie and he was big on drafting Jeff. Therefore Woody will be much more forgiving, supportative, and patient with Teague. Look for a big year from the rookie running uptempo with the second unit as a change of pace.

E43

September 11th, 2009
4:07 am

this is what hawks basketball should be all about. working hard and doing everything possible to be a better player over the break then becoming a better teammate during camp..

Big Ray

September 11th, 2009
5:17 am

Heh. Allen Iverson, bless his soul, is talking about winning championships in Memphis. You know, I’ve never seen him as the type to use drugs…

In regard to Jeff Teague, I’ve always said it never hurts when the head coach approves of your skills package. I expect Woody to be every bit as demanding of Teague and not necessarily forgiving. But it doesn’t hurt that he likes what Teague can do. And I think we are going to find that we’ve gotten a gem in the mid-late section of the first round of the draft.

vava74

September 11th, 2009
5:32 am

Big Ray,

Do you have trouble going to sleep or are you an old geezer who wakes up at 5AM?

As for Iverson, he has been on the most powerful drug all his life: self absorption!

If we look beyond all those tattoos and the stupid attitude of wanting the approval of the streets (carrying guns, et all…) he looks like a nice likable dude deep in, however, he just can help but to act – as a “professional” and as a teammate – as a disrespectful and egotistic idiot.

Samuel

September 11th, 2009
5:45 am

Allen Iverson is one of my favorite players of all time. I don’t really think it’s wanting approval of the streets. He basically is a pioneer in that arena. The streets follow him.

he seems like a really down to earth kinda guy to me. I also don’t think he is the only one guilty of carrying guns here.

I really love this move by Memphis. I can see good things happening down in Mempho. Definitely can’t hurt the revenue stream. AI back at his original position PG. That team should be fun to watch.

Samuel

September 11th, 2009
6:02 am

The thing that will make Teague better than Acie is his confidence. He will give us a good change of pace. Hopefully, he can play good defense. That’s what will determine his minutes. I can also see he and Bibby on the court some together. Bibby back at the 2 and JJ at the 3.

Big Ray

September 11th, 2009
6:15 am

VaVa74,

It’s called the midnight shift, lol! Even on my nights off, I’m up sometimes.

I like Iverson, he’s no more egotistical than some I can name (Carmelo Anthony). This makes Memphis a bit more interesting, but he’s not winning a championship down there, hate to say it.

Ariose

September 11th, 2009
7:51 am

Hoopsworld is predicting a declin in Bibbys skills/production this season…

http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=13781

doc

September 11th, 2009
8:08 am

samuel, i can see teague at point, with jj at 3 and crawford at 2. if bibby plays more than 28 min a game this year there is something wrong with your COY candidate unless the teague preseason stuff is hype.

Samuel

September 11th, 2009
8:29 am

I really don’t care to dicect minutes. It’s gonna allways be hard to keep Bibby off the floor, so if that’s what you’re hoping for, you may be dissappointed. I really don’t care, as long as we win.