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What Jeff Teague can bring to the Celtics offense


Bringing in Jeff Teague as some guard depth this year could end up being a monumental move for this year's Celtics team. Teague is a well respected veteran in the league, and having gone to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2015 with the Atlanta Hawks, knows what it takes to win tough games. Here's a brief look at why I think Jeff will be a great fit with the C's

Every Celtics fan loves Marcus Smart, due to everything he brings to the table, from the defensive intensity to scoring outbursts. For all the good things he does, Marcus excels off ball, and can have his effectiveness diminished when he is forced to be a primary ball handler. He is often pigeon-holed into that role with the second unit (or when Kemba is out), and Teague's addition will hopefully allow him to play more off-ball and maximize his abilities. 

At the deadline last year, Teague was traded to the Atlanta Hawks to play alongside Trae Young. His usage rate and effectiveness dipped considerably, as he is ideally the lead ball handler in an offense. With Kemba's knee issues, I believe Teague will step right into the role of floor general for this team, and will be a key contributor even when Kemba returns.

 During his last year and a half with the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he was the main ball handler, Teague had an assist-to-usage ratio of about 1.44, which would be above the 90th percentile league wide (Assist-to-usage ratio compares how often a player generates an assist versus how much they have the ball in their hands. For reference, Rajon Rondo's best AST:USG with the C's was 1.85, while Paul Pierce's best was 0.87). Compare this to Marcus Smart's AST:USG of 1.05, and it's evident that Teague is much better at generating opportunities for his teammates than Smart. 

One of the other big issues that the Celtics have, which became even more apparent in the playoffs, is offensive stagnation. Too often did we watch as the C's mindlessly passed the ball around the perimeter looking for a 3 point shot. While 3 pointers are more valuable than ever, high percentage shots at or near the rim will always have great value - look at what the Lakers did last year. This is another area where I think Teague's style and savvy will help the offense.

During that time in Minnesota, Teague took 69.28% of his shots from the foul line in, which is roughly the same as Daniel Theis's percentage last year. For comparison, Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker each took 38% of their shots from that distance last year. Teague's willingness to attack the paint and collapse the defense will do great things for the Celtics, as it will open up the offense and get away from the contested jumpers that we've grown accustomed to seeing. 

Jeff Teague and the Celtics look to be a match made in heaven. He provides veteran leadership while Kemba is out, and another playmaker when everybody's healthy. He'll allow Marcus Smart to maximize his skillset without having to worry about being a floor general, and should help get Tatum and Brown some easier shots. Teague was a quiet signing amidst the usual craziness of an NBA off-season, but he should be an important contributor to this iteration of the Celtics.

*All stats taken from Cleaning the Glass (https://cleaningtheglass.com/)*

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