Atlanta Hawks at Nets: The Rook’ (Jeff Teague) gets his shot (updated)

Woody will watch and see if Teague can D up guys better than Frank Robinson. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Woody will watch and see if Teague can D up guys better than Frank Robinson. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Secaucus, N.J.–Joe Johnson is out tonight. He’s not going to play tomorrow at Toronto, either, and Woody said J.J.’s status is up in the air for Friday’s game against Charlotte at Philips Arena.

The Hawks say J.J. has a strained Achilles’ tendon.

“He’s day-to-day,” Woody said.

Bibby’s back is better and he will start tonight. In a surprise move, Woody plans to go with My Blog People MVP Jeff Teague at point guard and Bibby at shooting guard instead of using Mo Evans to replace Johnson.

It’s Teague’s first start.

“We’ll give it a shot,” Woody said, adding with a smile: “I can always sub early.”

“(Teague) has played with different combinations,” Woody said. “This is no different. He will do what he does best: push the ball, defend, get people involved.”

Teague, low key as always, said he’s ready.

“I’ve been playing basketball my whole life, and I’ve usually started,” he said. “It will be the same as coming off the bench.”

Woody said he made the move because he wants Teague’s quickness against Nets guard Devin Harris. Harris might miss the game due to illness but presumably Woody would stick with Teague either way.

(Edit: Harris is out with an upper respiratory infection, but Woody said he probably would stick with Teague: “We drafted him for the future, and I’ve got to develop him if I’m here as coach (next year). I think he’s gotten a little bit better but we haven’t seen enough of him. I think I’ll still keep him in there.”)

“He’s quick, so you have to try to keep him out of the lane,” Teague said of Harris. “He can score; we all know that. I’m not going to say I’m going to lock him down or anything like that. I just want to try and contain him.”

The Hawks will be much smaller in the backcourt without J.J. (6-7). Teague and Bibby are both listed at 6-2. Harris is 6-3 and Nets shooting guard Courtney Lee (a ‘Naptown Pike High product like Teague) is 6-5. The Nets can also bring 6-7 Chris Douglas-Roberts and 6-6 rookie Terrence Williams (Go Cards) off the bench at guard.

Teague, the 19th overall pick out of Wake Forest, said he’s matured through the season.

“Most definitely,” he said. “At the beginning of the season I wasn’t comfortable. I was nervous and didn’t want to mess up. I’ve gotten more familiar with the coaches and they’ve gotten more familiar with me.”

I’m not sure if anyone around here has noticed, but Teague’s minutes have been up and down this season.

“Give the rook’ (credit),” Woody said, referring to Teague by the name he almost always uses to address him. “He played well in the exhibitions. It’s not like we forgot about him. We’ll give him a shot.”

– Does this game worry you at all? Hawks TV voice Bob Rathbun notes that strange things happen when the Hawks play here. They’ve lost their last five at the arena with its latest name as the Izod Center but that still is dark, dank and–after the circus just left town–stank.

“Interesting venue,” Teague said. “Older than I expected.”

The Nets are set to move to the Prudential Center in Newark next season. Coincidentally, Woody played for the Nets when they opened what was then called Brendan Byrne Arena in 1981. Larry Brown was the coach.

This Nets team is worst than any of those that beat the Hawks the last five times here. They are threatening to be historically bad, on pace to tie the 1972-73 76ers for worst record in league history at 9-73.

Obviously the Nets want no part of that, so maybe that helps to explain why they showed signs of life in recent road losses to Memphis, Dallas, Oklahoma City and Houston.

“They are playing harder,” Woody said. “In their last outing (at Houston) they were very competitive and I don’t expect anything different tonight.”

Clearly missing Harris would be a major blow to New Jersey’s efforts to beat the Hawks. But, as Rathbun says, strange things happen to the Hawks in Jersey.

– Talk amongst yourselves, Hawks fans.

MC

278 comments Add your comment

me

March 16th, 2010
2:07 pm

lets go rook

O'Brien

March 16th, 2010
2:09 pm

“This is no different. He will do what he does best: push the ball, defend, get people involved.”

With comments like those from Woody, I’m surprised Teague hasnt gotten more PT.

I dont like having Teague and Bibby in the game together.

jon

March 16th, 2010
2:09 pm

okay, lets get Jeff going! He may helpful on the defensive side of the ball come playoff time. It must kill woody to play him, he hates playing rookies. Go get em JEFF!

O'Brien

March 16th, 2010
2:13 pm

I dont like having Teague and Bibby in the game together, but I understand Woody wants to have Mo to backup Marvin.

Why not just start Mo and Teague, bring Crawford off the bench, and split the backup SF minutes between Josh and Mo?

It will be interesting to see how the team responds without JJ. Hopefully Marvin can pick up some of the slack since Joe is out (similar to what Marvin did when Joe was out a couple games last season).

O'Brien

March 16th, 2010
2:21 pm

Woody said he made the move because he wants Teague’s quickness against Nets guard Devin Harris.

So how many (quick) PGs have we been burned by (while Teague sat listlessly on the bench), and now Woody decides that he wants Teague’s quickness in there?

Come on Woody, you’re late. Plus Devin Harris might not even play tonight, because he’s injured.

terrell

March 16th, 2010
2:27 pm

Woody wants Teagues quickness against Harris? Wtf! What about against all the other fast pg’s that killed us? I guess it took him 64 games to finally figure that one out??????

terrell

March 16th, 2010
2:33 pm

That’s great Woody. Play Teague with the STARTING PG, so you can say you gave Teague his chance. Whatever!

JIMBO

March 16th, 2010
2:42 pm

This is great. I want Teague to get minutes – he’s a talented guy and must be given oppportunities to be the Hawks PG of the future. Also great to see Joe Johnson getting some rest even if it b/c of injuries.

GO HAWKS!

Section 303

March 16th, 2010
2:49 pm

Well, some of you are getting your wish. Teague will get a shot. Have to admit, I’m anxious to see how these next two-three games go. Without Joe, team has a whole new face.

Expecting Crawford to get mega-minutes this week.

Hardy "Flippin" Har

March 16th, 2010
2:50 pm

Good. Hope he lights it up with 15 points and 15 assists.

Trainwreck

March 16th, 2010
2:54 pm

I’m very interested to see how this will go down. People put a little too much stock in starting games anyway. Like Woody said, he can sub early… I want to see how many mins Teague gets throughout the game. Or will it just be Bibby and Crawford down the stretch… well we know it will at least be Crawford.

Corey

March 16th, 2010
3:04 pm

I’m actually excited to see how this games goes. This could very well be like next year, as if Joe plans to leave Atlanta. This will be a good look to see how we do with out JJ. I plan on seeing Josh Smith with a lot of points, along with Crawford & Al. :D

Nite Owl

March 16th, 2010
3:10 pm

Give Teague the keys and give him big minutes. Let him work through any mistakes. He’ll get the job done.

Nice preview of next year without JJ, except I’d like to start Jamal and bring Bibby off the bench as a sniper.

By the way, did Mo run over Woody’s dog or something?

osama

March 16th, 2010
3:12 pm

It shood hav bin Teague & Mo starting in the front court. Let Bibby take Teague’s place on the bench. Hopefully, Teague will put Woody in a compromising situation & hav to reevaluate his stance on ‘rooks’.

The Truth

March 16th, 2010
3:22 pm

I could easily found fault in Woody’s decision to deal Teague a hand with Bibby being the SG. Defensively, this could be a recipe for disaster. It has the makings for a confidence set-up for Teague as well if things don’t go as plan. However, (quoting Woody: “When opportunity knocks, you got to be ready”) as a rookie who’s been starving for minutes, you must take whatever you can get and make the best it. I hope he has thick skin if this all blow-up in an unfavorable way.

tyger

March 16th, 2010
3:34 pm

Falcoons Easy Button 1.0

1.19 Golden Tate, WR, ND
3.81 John Jerry, OL, Ole Miss
3.97 Jimmy Graham, TE, Mia
4. 115 Brandon Lang, DE/OLB, Troy
5. 130 Greg Hardy, DE, Ole Miss
5. 161 Danario Alexander, WR, Mizz
6. 163 Myron Lewis, CB, Vandy
6. 179 Clifton Geathers, DE, SC

Benjamin

March 16th, 2010
4:06 pm

Wow… what a strange decision…

Jam should be starting tonight. No question about it.

cp

March 16th, 2010
4:17 pm

lol@Woodrows comment about using Teague to guard against a quick pg. I guess that thought hadn’t entered his mind any other time during the season…Hopefully he lets the kid play through his mistakes. I think he gets around 10 to 12 points and 6 dimes with around 2 steals.

jean

March 16th, 2010
4:19 pm

crawford will never score 50 as long as this retart is the coachstart bibby n teague is a joke

O'Brien

March 16th, 2010
4:29 pm

Starting Teague and Bibby together makes no sense to me. (And just because I said that, look for Teague and Bibby to dominate lol).

Tealicious

March 16th, 2010
4:33 pm

Time to crank this thing all the way up!

i_am_soulstar

March 16th, 2010
4:41 pm

Go get ‘em Teague!!!!! I predict 40 minutes for Crawford tonight.

MsDee

March 16th, 2010
4:42 pm

Is it me or do Woody still dont have confidence in Teague? I mean he says “We’ll give it a shot,” Woody said, adding with a smile: “I can always sub early.” What kind of comment to say after saying you will give him a try by starting??

I wonder was Woodson treated the same way when he was a rookie? Did he not get respected by his coach, did his coach kill any and all confidence he had b4 entering the NBA, did he get buried on the bench too, did his coach killed any chance of him getting any rookie acolades??? If the answer is YES to all 4 questions, I see now why he treat rookies the way he does..that’s how he was taught.

i_am_soulstar

March 16th, 2010
4:46 pm

Crawford should be starting tonight, get a comfy lead, then let him go for 50

Westurd

March 16th, 2010
4:56 pm

oh boy……..Teague and Bibby? Lets see “Cheese Burger” Collins get some burn…….mmmmmm cheese burger

Michael Cunningham

March 16th, 2010
4:56 pm

@ Section 303: Woody was looking out on the court at shootaround today, turns to us media types and says: “man, it sure does look different without Joe out there, doesn’t it?” and it really was strange to see because when is he not out there?

@ O’Brien: it certainly surprised me. it will be interesting to see if Woody sticks with it if Harris is out.

@ MsDee: remember, Woody comes from the Larry Brown tree and Brown is notoriously tough on rookie PGs.

Rod from College Park

March 16th, 2010
4:57 pm

Great job Woody. Let Bibby play shooting guard so he will have to guard guys much bigger than him. Makes a lot of sense. Maybe he’s trying to set Teague up for failure. What is with this organization and this starting lineup crap. Your best players should start period. Jamal should be starting, he is our second or third best player. When we had Chills, he should have been starting over Marvin. You can’t name many teams in history other than San Antonio (Ginobilli) and Dallas (Terry), who don’t start their best players.

Maxx

March 16th, 2010
4:58 pm

Bibby at the 2? What is Woody smoking?

Big Ray

March 16th, 2010
5:09 pm

“(Teague) has played with different combinations,” Woody said. “This is no different. He will do what he does best: push the ball, defend, get people involved.”

Woody said he made the move because he wants Teague’s quickness against Nets guard Devin Harris.

There goes Woody again, supporting one of his players and saying that the young man has some skills, and can play. But we all know that he doesn’t mean a word of it. He’s just being politically correct for the sake of the media. In truth, he privately tells Sund and the owners that Teague sucks and he wishes they hadn’t picked him.

Right, TS ?

:lol:

Man please.

Another shout out by Woody for his rookie. Woody likes the kid, and he wants to bring him along slowly. Teague doesn’t have a great jumper coming into the league, but he’ll learn and do better if he works hard enough. In the meantime, he’ll do what Woody says he does. Defend, push the ball, get people involved.

I hope he does well tonight, and earns every minute that he plays. Woody is giving him a vote of confidence, while knowing that the learning ladder has twisted and difficult rungs. Hopefully, Teague will back that vote of confidence with a good game. Lord knows many people will be looking for him to fail, all for the purpose of winning arguments that don’t even matter, or just a chance to bash the kid while supporting the coach.

I hope the kid does fine. But in the end, I hope the Hawks win, more than anything else.

Astro Joe

March 16th, 2010
5:10 pm

Sounds like Woody is trying to get Bibby some freedom to shoot and work on his stroke. I don’t know why y’all worry about who starts… starting and playing time are two different things.

Big Ray

March 16th, 2010
5:10 pm

But I have to say that I’m a tad confused by Woody when it comes to starting Bibby at the 2. What exactly is he wanting/expecting Bibby to do?

Well, he did say he could always sub early. Hello, Jamal…..

Big Ray

March 16th, 2010
5:12 pm

Astro Joe,

Sounds like a plan, but I hope he also plans to run screens for him. Bibby will be up against larger players like Courtney Lee (6′7″, I think). He could have a bit of trouble getting his shot off.

The Truth

March 16th, 2010
5:31 pm

I’m still scratching my head with this one; Bibby as the starting SG. I mean, can Bibby really create his own shot? If Bibby isn’t spotting-up and wide open for a jumper or coming off of a screen, he is useless as a SG on offense. (And) We all know about his sub-par defense. Is this the best Woody can come up with? Now that I think of it, I guess so. This strange line-up is the results of a weak bench acquisition beyond Crawford (but I won’t go there). Now we might pay the price. Also, according to this article, JJ injury could last much longer than a few days. In fact, it could completely alter the remaining regular season minutes for JJ and the playoff strategy. With this scenario based on our current schedule, it could dash any hope of capturing the 3rd seed and force us to just hang-on to the 4th seed (which isn’t a guarantee).

Melvin

March 16th, 2010
5:36 pm

I hope we won’t see Teague get the Royal Ivey treatment. Play the first three mins of the 1st and 3rd qtr.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 16th, 2010
5:40 pm

Yeah, count me among those who doesn’t mind seeing Bibby start at the 2. Lee is 6′5″ and isn’t the guy who takes people off the dribble on that team (that would be Harris). I don’t think the Hawks lose a whole lot in this game defensively by starting Bibby at the 2 as opposed to Crawford.

O'Brien

March 16th, 2010
5:48 pm

Ray,

Courtney Lee is actually 6-5, but regardless, Bibby is only 6-2.

Game 66 is when Woody decides to go with Teague because of Devin’s quickness. I hope that means Teague has finally earned more consistent PT (because the Hawks have gotten burned by quicker PGs all year).

Astro

I hope the Hawks play inside out, especially with JJ out. That should help Bibby get some easy looks.

I just hope having Teague and Bibby on the court at the start of the game does not put the Hawks in a deep hole.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 16th, 2010
5:50 pm

Also, if Crawford starts, he will be dominating the ball on offense. For those of us who want to see Teague handle the ball and push the tempo, the chances of that happening with Crawford on the floor are much lower than with Bibby.

Fundamentals

March 16th, 2010
5:53 pm

We need to let Bibby & Joe rest. Give Teague, Mo, Crawford and Mario full run for 3 games. Live with the results. Getting Bibby and Joe 100% is crutial this time of year. We can’t risk pushing them back too soon. The 4 listed above can handle the competition. We’ll just need top play from the frontcourt. Should be fun to watch…if Woodson has the guts to let it play out. Crucial minutes at a crucial time for very important role players. Let them fill their role! Time is now!

Rod from College Park

March 16th, 2010
5:56 pm

Najeh Davenpoop,

Courtney Lee actually does take people of the dribble. With Bibby checking him, that should not be too difficult. He also is a pretty solid defender.

MannyT

March 16th, 2010
5:56 pm

I suspect that Jamal will still get the bulk of the minutes in the back court. Woody is simply allowing him to maintain some of his routine by leaving him as 6th man. Besides, if Jamal does start, you expect very little offensive impact from the bench.

Better to give Teague a try against the Nets than a good team…low risk, wise move.

BWAF

The Truth

March 16th, 2010
6:13 pm

Woody should have started Mo Evans as SG and use Joe Smith to back-up Marvin; then used Zaza to split time with Collins to backup Al Horford at center. That would mean Zaza also backs up Josh at PF.

nunna yo biznezz

March 16th, 2010
6:15 pm

ok..this should be the time that not only does mo and teague gets minutes,but,we should play both bigs tonite,and even put horford at the PF..
LIKE I SAID BEFORE,TEAGUE GETS DIMES AS SOON AS HE HITS DA FLOOR,AND THEN COMES CRAWFORD TO TAKE THE BALL OUT OF HIS HANDS..
WE WILL SEE A DIFFERENT TEAM IF CRAWFORD JUST GETS OPEN FOR HIS HOTS AND LET JT DO HIT THANG!!

TEAGUE TONITE(IF HE PLAYS UP TO 30 MINUTES)10PTS./14 DIMES/5 FOULS/3 REBOUNDS/1 BLOCK/2 OR 3 STEALS)..

BECAUSE HE HAS NOT PLAYED WITH THE 1ST UNIT ALL YEAR,HE WILL BE PRONE TO EARLY FOUL TROUBLE AND SIT OUT MOST OF THE 1ST AND 2ND QTRS. LOOK FOR HIS STAR TO SHINE IN THE 2ND HALF..
THE PERSON TO WATCH IS MARVIN!!!!!

bj rufino

March 16th, 2010
6:20 pm

yes, Bob Rathbun is right that strange things happen for the hawks is jersey because the last they played their hawks almost got the win but Vince Carter hit a deep buzzer beater 3 in OT

Willy

March 16th, 2010
6:25 pm

This is good, even if it fails in this little 2-3game span. Woody “can” now see more possibilities after having used the rookie in a bigger way. This might be just what it took to open up the book a little. I’ll give him, Woodson, credit for not taking the easy alternative and running Crawford for 46 minutes.

KevinA

March 16th, 2010
6:39 pm

Bibby and Teague will make more impact on how well they pass. If they play Hawks ball either or both will be fine. Move the ball and pass the ball. I assume Marvin, Jamal, Al and Josh will absorb the JJ attempts. Bibby, Teague or Evans just need to play within themselves and play within the flow of the offense. No big deal.

Blast

March 16th, 2010
7:05 pm

Lol! “Rook” finally gets to start and folks now saying Woody is setting him up to fail by playing him with Bibby? WTF????

I like the move. “Rook” can get live gametime learning from Bibby. As someone mentioned too, starting doesn’t mean playing major minutes,but I hope/think “Rook will play well, but more important as Big Ray said, Hawks get the win.

I guess next season Woody will have to remember Teague’s name because he won’t be able to call him “Rook” anymore.

terrell

March 16th, 2010
7:19 pm

Hope Smoove doesn’t try to do too much with Joe being out. Just play your game Josh. Go Hawks. And btw, worst Falcons mock I’ve seen yet Tyger.

The Grinch

March 16th, 2010
7:21 pm

I’m glad to see Teague get the start; hope he gets significant minutes, win or lose.

O'Brien

March 16th, 2010
7:32 pm

If I’m the Nets, I’m going to Courtney Lee or Brook Lopez to start each possession (especially if Devin does not play).

I would like to see CDR get some PT, because I have not seen any footage of him (I had suggested him as someone Sund could make a deal for at the trade deadline to backup Marvin). I will also be watching one of their other SFs, Terrence Williams (sp?).

northcyde

March 16th, 2010
7:36 pm

Teague’s numbers for tonight:

6 pts – 3 asst – 2 rebs – 1 stl – 1 to

2 – 6 FG . . . 2 – 2 FT

18 minutes