May 11, 2011

Conflict of Interest

Jeff Teague is getting a lot of love for his play, and he deserves it. He's been streaking from end to end, tossing in gorgeous floaters over Carlos Boozer, and even stealing the ball from the MVP, prior to the referees allowing said MVP to tackle him and take the ball back (if you'd like to see these things for yourself, the NBA has a nice Game 5 video recap here. Side note: if you think you've got what it takes to intern with Zards ALards! in our Stealing Content from Getty Images and Department, we are now accepting resumes). Today we examine the flipside of this coin, titled: Larry Drew is an Idiot.

Last year as a rookie, Teague managed to impress in very limited action, and coming into this season fans were excited to see if he was ready to contribute. Mike Bibby was the only point guard nominally ahead of him on the depth chart, and Mike Bibby is widely understood to be not good at basketball.The Hawks had gone with the same core for ages and that group, though competitive, was clearly not going to win a championship. Recognizing the need to shake things up, the Hawks fired their coach of six years, who had improved their record each season, going from 13-69 to 53-29. Faced with these circumstances, their new coach, Larry Drew, boldly decided to bump Teague all the way up from 10 minutes a game to 14. Teague became pen pals with Kevin Love, and life went on.

That's where we'd be now, if the basketball gods hadn't interfered and struck Kirk Hinrich down with a hamstring injury at the end of Round 1. His hands tied, Drew has been forced to give Teague all the minutes he can handle. Suddenly playing 41 minutes a game, Teague has responded with 17 points on 55.7% shooting, and handed out 4.4 assists to only a single (1!) turnover. Incredibly, his breakout performance is taking place in the pressure cooker of a second round playoff series against the best defense in the league. The entire country is seeing that his quick might be quicker than your quick, even if you are Derrick Rose. That Drew sat him in favor of Mike Bibby and then Kirk Hinrich while the Hawks slogged through a forgettable regular season boggles the mind.

So in addition to enjoying the moment, maybe Jeff Teague should keep an eye on his coach. Because with each fastbreak he beautifully finishes, Drew looks a little worse. Overnight, Jeff Teague has somehow made the Hawks offense watchable. And if Larry Drew is responsible for making us sit through the 88 games that preceded this, that's a firing offense.


  1. Jordan Crawford and Jeff Teague sat the entire season. As soon as Crawford left ATL he became dynamic scorer for the WIZ. Had a 40 point game and a triple double in the little time he was there. Jeff Teague has always show the potential to become a great PG. Just ask the Blazers about Teague's back-to-back-to-back steals for scores against them.

  2. Larry Drew looks like that chronic gambler at the local casino who is perpetually face palming.