Las Vegas–One bad Summer League game, one quote about deferring to J.J. and Co., and suddenly it seems like Teague has gone from savior to suspect in the eyes of some Hawks fans.
He apparently took so much guff from fans on Twitter it prompted him to tweet: dont you hate people who cant play at all but have so much 2 say smh.” That came a couple hours after he had tweeted after he tweeted: “my bad yesterday didnt have a good one”
I guess his fans agreed with him in terms that were a little too strong for his taste. Note to Teague: If you don’t like to hear mess from fans, probably best to leave Twitter alone.
It’s only two games into summer league. No doubt Teague had a bad game Wednesday but it’s tough to judge him when he’s playing with this group, just like it was tough to judge him when he was playing sporadic minutes under Woody. Shouldn’t we hold off on making strong declarations either way?
Earlier in the week Teague said: “I am kind of looking at this like I’m a rookie.” I know what he meant but he’s not a rookie and circumstances outside of his control dictate that he and the Hawks can’t look it that way. They have to find out what they have with Teague, and fast.
“We have to,” L.D. said.
Nevertheless, the inescapable reality is that Teague is still a young player finding his way. Figuring out how he can best use his skills on a team full of guys who want the ball and how to be assertive when he’s the least accomplished Hawks starter will be a process. L.D. likened it to what Rondo went through in Boston when he was suddenly expected to run point for a veteran team looking to contend.
“I told him Rondo went through a similar situation,” Drew said. “Rondo was not a rah-rah guy. He went through a rookie period and then he had all these veterans thrown at him. Then he stepped out of the box, which is what I want [Teague] to do.”
Obviously there’s no need to panic about Teague after just a couple Vegas games. But there does seem to be a bit of a gap this week between what L.D. and Lester Conner are saying and what Teague is saying.
The coaches say this is a big week for Teague to show how he can lead the team; Teague downplays the games because he’s playing with NBA hopefuls instead of Atlanta’s vets. The coaches want Teague to direct traffic, with Conner going to far as to allow Teague to call his own plays at times; Teague said he might give the ball up to others and let them initiate the offense.
Part of the disconnect probably has to do with Teague’s personality, which Conner described as a “laid-back, cool mentality.” There were times when Teague’s relaxed approach riled Woody, who wanted him to be more serious.
L.D. wants the same. He said he’s on top of it.
“We change the environment, it will change him,” L.D. said. “That’s how I feel. That’s my job.”
It’s only July. Maybe if Teague looks good against Milwaukee tonight–he said he can’t wait to redeem himself–he will feel the love again.