The Hawks have been pretty busy this offseason in both the rumor mill and in actually making deals. Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver, and DeMarre Carroll have all been signed so far, and Andrew Bynum, Brandon Jennings, and—unfortunately—Monta Ellis have been linked to the team.
Today, I want to focus on Brandon Jennings and our point guard from this past season, Jeff Teague. There are reports that the Hawks and Bucks are discussing a sign and trade between the two point guards.
In my eyes, that situation is more likely to happen then the Andrew Bynum signing and the Monta Ellis rumors, so I wanted to look into what each player has to offer the Hawks.
For starters, let’s take a look at their career averages. Both players have four years in the league, but Jennings has significantly more time on the books with 10,068 minutes played compared to Teague’s 6,493. For those not doing the math, that’s over 74 full games more; also, note that Brandon Jennings (23) is almost two years younger than Jeff Teague (25).
At first glance, it seems that Jennings is easily the better player. Not only does he score eight more points per game than Teague, but he also averages more assists, rebounds, and steals per game based on career numbers. Yes, he does turn the ball over a bit more than Teague, but the difference isn’t big enough to mitigate the other numbers. If this was the end of the story, it would be easy to root for a Jennings-Teague sign and trade but of course, things are never quite that simple.
If you take a look at the last three numbers, you will find out why so many people are “scared” of Brandon Jennings. His career field-goal percentage is pretty dreadful at 39.4%. Jeff Teague on the other hand is pretty efficient for a point guard, putting the ball in the net at a 45.1% of the time.
To get a better picture of how each player scores, let’s take a look at the season by season stats.
If you’re paying attention you should notice that Jennings attempts way more shots than Jeff Teague. There are a few explanations for that.
The first is that Brandon Jennings follows the Monta Ellis book of basketball that says the more you shoot the more you score and who really cares about that field goal percentage right? No one keeps up with assists, let’s pad the PPG number.
The second is that Brandon Jennings has played for some pretty bad teams, and has seemingly felt like he has to carry the team and shoot the basketball more.
Jennings has been on Bucks teams that have featured the likes of Carlos Delfino, Andrew Bogut, John Salmons, Ersan Ilyasova, Luc Mbah a Moute, and…Monta Ellis for a season and a half. In short, he wasn’t exactly surrounded by stars.
Jeff Teague on the other hand has had a much smaller role (over the four year period) with a much better team. Names including Joe Johnson, Al Horford, Josh Smith, Jamal Crawford, and Kyle Korver have been called with Teague’s in his four year period and those guys are a much better supporting cast.
I’m not trying to say that Teague has only been efficient because of this (and vice versa for Jennings), but it certainly helps out on the court. Teague hasn’t really felt the pressure of carrying a team the way Jennings has and this could have easily led to worse shot selection.
The Hawks must be hoping that Jennings will become a more efficient point guard in a system that doesn’t surround him with fringe players. That, plus the potential that Jennings brings (with his scoring ability and age) are likely the two biggest reasons that Danny Ferry is interested in acquiring him.
If you also are a believer in Mike Budenholzer’s coaching ability, it wouldn’t be terribly surprising if Brandon Jennings turned into a really solid guard for years to come.
I know I’m on board. Are you?