Remember back when Teague was going to challenge Bibby for the starting point guard position? I don’t, either, because it never really materialized.
And now it seems Teague isn’t assured of regular minutes and will split time with JC2 based on matchups. So when the Hawks played Washington, which used a lot of zone defenses Thursday, L.D. gave JC2 the nod over Teague: “I just really wanted to go with another shooter.”
It could be different today against the Knicks and going forward.
“[Toney] Douglas has got speed, he has got quickness, he looks to score,” L.D. said. “So there is a chance [Teague] may be the first guy coming off. But if I get in an instance where I need some more offense, if we get off to a slow start, which I’m hoping we won’t, then I could go with bringing in another scorer in like Jordan.”
L.D. acknowledged that less minutes for his best on-ball defender would put more pressure on the other perimeter guys.
“It puts more onus on every individual guy, especially when we have to defend the pick-and-rolls,” he said. “When Jeff is in the game, I expect him to be up the floor up and picking the ball up and harassing the ball. He is probably the one guy on our team who is better than anybody. If I choose to go a different direction it is going to put more onus on the other guys to be better in the halfcourt. But our defense is not going to be predicated on what one guy does. It is going to have to be a total team effort.”
No Joe, Maybe Jamal
J.J. was back in New York, so that meant answering questions about why he re-signed with the Hawks instead of joining the Knicks.
“Staying in Atlanta was the best fit,” he said. “We’ve improved and gotten better every year. It’s a situation where I was already established, comfortable, and our style of play fits me.”
J.J. said Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni, his former coach in Phoenix, was a draw. It also was “enticing” when the Knicks signed Amar’e Stoudemire, Johnson said.
Left unmentioned: The $30 million extra he’s earning with the Hawks.
Jamal is still popular in New York, so he also drew a media crowd. He said if he doesn’t receive an extension from the Hawks (which he said he doesn’t consider a dead issue), then he would be open to signing as a free agent with the Knicks next summer.
“Why not?” he said. “I like where I’m at. I really do. But if things don’t work out with Atlanta, then it’s not the end of the world.”
Jamal said he thinks about his contract situation “at times” but stopped short of saying it’s a distraction.
“There’s nothing I can do about it,” he said.