PG Jeff Teague ready to become leader for Hawks

Published on NewsOK Modified: October 2, 2013 at 6:16 pm •  Published: October 2, 2013
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ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Point guard Jeff Teague has wasted no time in asserting his authority with the Atlanta Hawks.

It hasn't been a natural transition for the soft-spoken Teague, but he knows the team needs more vocal leadership on offense.

And Teague is ready to take on more responsibility after signing a new four-year, $32 million contract in July.

"We're a quiet group, but we're about business," Teague said Wednesday. "Come in here and get the job done. We all talk to each other. We all like each other, but it's not a lot of laughter. It's business."

General manager Danny Ferry made three significant offseason moves, hiring longtime San Antonio assistant Mike Budenholzer as head coach, signing former Utah forward Paul Millsap as a free agent and keeping Teague in Atlanta.

For a short time, Teague thought he might be rejoining former Hawks coach Larry Drew in Milwaukee, but as a restricted free agent, he was required to stay with the Hawks after they matched the Bucks' offer.

"I've been here four years, love the city, love the fans, but it's almost like new to me now," Teague said. "We're learning the offense. We're gelling together right now."

Atlanta could not afford to let Teague leave town, particularly after Ferry was unable to sign free agent center Dwight Howard.

If Howard had returned to his hometown and joined the Hawks, Budenholzer would have designed his schemes around the five-time NBA rebounding leader.

Perhaps re-signing Teague wouldn't have been so important, but without Howard, Budenholzer's system was built to suit the quickness and speed of a smaller front line.

That's where Teague is indispensable, and Budenholzer wants Teague to control the pace of an offense that's predicated on lots of motion in half-court sets.

A successful fast break will be critical, too, as the defense tries to use its speed and quickness to step in passing lanes and create turnovers.