The Minnesota Timberwolves announced the signing of point guard Jeff Teague on Monday afternoon.
Teague’s signing came on the heels of the Wolves trading point guard Ricky Rubio to the Utah Jazz for a first-round pick. While Rubio will be missed, the Wolves have a better fit with Teague, especially after acquiring wing Jimmy Butler.
With Teague, the Wolves instantly become better from deep at the point-guard position. Teague is a 35.5 percent career 3-point shooter and is only a season removed from shooting 40 percent in 2015-16 with the Atlanta Hawks. In 2014-15, Teague was named to the All-Star team, averaging 15.9 points and seven assists per game for the 60-win Hawks.
In his eight seasons (seven with Atlanta and one with the Pacers), Teague has yet to miss the playoffs, which is pretty incredible. He’s combined for 66 playoff games throughout his career, 30 coming in the last three seasons alone.
Teague saw an opportunity after the Wolves traded for Jimmy Butler. After the trade was made, Teague called his agent, telling him he wanted to come to Minnesota to play for the Timberwolves.
“Just seeing the roster and the talent they have on this team,” Teague said. “It’s a point guard’s dream. It just made my dream come true.”
He’s also a player that Wolves President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Tom Thibodeau was able to see first-hand during Thibodea’s time in Chicago.
“With Jeff, two years ago, (the Hawks) had the best record in the NBA. When you look back over the past five years, he’s always at the top of the league in terms of penetration into the paint, he’s one of the best at finishing, high pick-and-roll execution, with his shot and his ability to make plays . . . All the things that he’ll bring in terms of leadership.”
At 29, Teague is young enough that he’s still in his prime, but old enough to give the team leadership, along with Butler and newly-signed forward Taj Gibson.
Teague is a pass-first point guard, who can also get his. Last season with the Pacers, he score 20 or more points 22 times and had 10 or more assists 20 times. Since 2012-13, Teague is one of nine players to average 15 or more points, six or more assists while shooting 35 percent or better from deep. The other eight players? LeBron James, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry, Damian Lillard, Mike Conley and Jrue Holiday.
Not bad company.
With so many new faces, it might take a while for everyone to mesh, but it should be easier with a group of veterans like Teague, Butler and Gibson, combined with players who have one year under Thibodeau already in Andrew Wiggins, Gorgui Dieng, Karl-Anthony Towns and Tyus Jones.
With his new team, Teague is hoping to make eight-straight playoff appearances nine.