Think for a moment about your job. Now imagine being told that you will be given $32 million over the next four years to do that job.
Now imagine trying to find the motivation to actually improve at what you do for a living.
Personally, I’d be on a yacht (mentally and physically) within about five minutes of signing that contract, so I have to say I’m impressed with the drive Jeff Teague has shown in the first year of his new long-term deal. Granted, Teague gets to play basketball for a living, and in theory there should always be motivation to play hoops, as far as many of us are concerned. Nevertheless, given the circumstances, it’s tough to label Teague’s season so far (career-highs of 16.6 ppg and 7.8 apg) anything other than a success.
But if we look a little closer, and take away the new contract/yacht factor, Teague’s season has actually been disappointing in a few key areas. He’s shooting a career-low 40.6 percent from the field, and making less 3s than he did last year (1.1 --> 0.6). He’s also averaging a career-worst 3.3 turnovers per game, making him the No. 100 player in Basketball Monster’s 9-category rankings.
If you drafted Teague, you were obviously hoping for better value. And if you stay patient, I think you’ll get it. Despite the poor shooting percentage, Teague has actually shown smoother jump shot mechanics and better touch on his often erratic floater this year. He’s also doing a better job of getting to the rim (a career-high 6.0 FT attempts per game this year), and is playing in a much more functional offense than the Hawks have had in recent years.
Bottom line: While his scoring, assists and steals (1.4) are all probably around their peak, I’ll be shocked if Teague’s FG percentage stays this low. So if you drafted him, stay patient. And if another owner is frustrated with his shooting and disappointing ranking, go get him.
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Now, some other random thoughts from around the league…
Random Thoughts, Part 1: Brandon Bass has been very good in his last 10 games (13.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 0.8 spg, 1.8 bpg), but that hot streak has directly overlapped with the absence of Kelly Olynyk, who has missed 10 games with a sprained ankle. Once Olynyk returns, I expect Bass (and Olynyk) to go back to being unpredictable, with Jared Sullinger remaining the only trustworthy player in the Boston frontcourt for now. … Meanwhile, consistency has actually become a bad thing for Gerald Henderson, whose numbers (15.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.4 bpg, 0.4 3s) are close to identical to what he posted in 2011-12 and 2012-13. Henderson is an explosive real-life player capable of breaking out some pretty exciting highlights, but has actually settled in as a very boring (and low upside) fantasy option. … Speaking of explosive players, Terrence Ross has a clear path to a lot of minutes with Rudy Gay no longer in town. I’m concerned that Ross may not do much more than score and hit 3s, but a lottery pick potentially getting 30-plus minutes per game is worth a look to see how the next 5-10 games play out.
Random Thoughts, Part 2: I know I’ve mentioned it several times already this year, but with his return expected tonight (Friday), I’ll say it again: Tobias Harris is capable of giving fantasy squads a major boost once he’s up to speed. If he posts a quiet line in his first game back Friday, that would make Saturday a very good time to float a trade offer. … Speaking of injured players to trade for (or stash), don’t forget Jimmy Butler. He may not quite be able to reach the numbers he posted last April (14.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.7 spg, 0.7 bpg, 1.4 3s), but those numbers are a good reminder of the versatile stats he’s capable of producing going forward. … I’m a believer in Ben McLemore’s long-term potential, but the arrival of volume shooter Rudy Gay is not good news for the rookie, who was already struggling in his last two games (3.5 ppg on 2-of-15 shooting) and now looks like the No. 4 option (at best) in Sacramento.