The Philadelphia 76ers should target a floor spacing, playmaking point guard this offseason, and Jeff Teague fits the profile.
After an early playoff exit at the hands of the Boston Celtics, the Philadelphia 76ers head into a bleak offseason. With four players making over $100 million on the payroll, the team has little flexibility spending-wise to make the roster adjustments needed to improve. Of their many internal issues, floor spacing and playmaking are two areas the team needs immediate help in, and Jeff Teague checks both boxes.
Plagued by these issues and more for months, the 76ers went through a significant roster shakeup earlier in the year to spark some new life. The move saw Ben Simmons slide to power forward, Al Horford to the bench and Shake Milton take over the starting point guard duties. The swap showed promise but was shortlived after Simmons suffered a subluxation of his kneecap that sidelined him for the rest of the season.
With the team adamant on keeping Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid together, reimplementing this lineup next season might be their best bet. If so, the team should target an upgrade at the point guard position, given that Milton is a natural shooting guard. It appears the 76ers might already be doing their due diligence around the league, starting with their reported interest in veteran Chris Paul. However, with Paul slated to make $85 million over the next two seasons, Philadelphia might not have the best shot at pulling off a blockbuster trade.
If the team is looking for a far more affordable option, Jeff Teague certainly has a case to stand atop that list. In a somewhat lacking soon-to-be free agent class, the 32-year-old point guard could be an under the radar target after a down year in 2019-20.
Jeff Teague checks off the boxes for the Philadelphia 76ers
As previously stated, two aspects the Philadelphia 76ers need improvement in are floor spacing and playmaking, something Teague has made a career out of. Averaging 5.8 assists per game in his 11-year career, the guard currently ranks 15th among active players in total assists. Bringing the certified floor general to Philadelphia would be a significant boost offensively given their current limitations.
Although Ben Simmons holds the crown as Philadelphia’s primary playmaker, his inability to shoot the ball limits him on the offensive end at times. Plugging another capable ball-handler like Teague into the lineup opens the floor up for the 76ers and lessens the pressure on Simmons’ shoulders to create offense in that off-ball spot. The team tried this experiment with Milton, but with him averaging just 2.6 assists per game this season, he lacked the necessary playmaking to make it work. Orchestrating the offense through a traditional guard like Teague instead could heighten their chances of succeeding in this lineup.
As for spacing the floor, Teague is a career 35.6 percent 3-point shooter, exceeding the 35 percent mark six times in his 11-year tenure. Although he has never been a top-tier shooter from deep, the one-time All-Star can unquestionably be a serviceable threat from behind the arc for a team that desperately needs it.
A known starter for most of his ongoing career, Teague transitioned to a primary bench role this season for the first time since 2010-11. Playing for both the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Atlanta Hawks, the guard started in just 17 out of 59 games, seeing decreases in minutes, points, assists, and rebounds per game. All in all, the guard averaged 10.9 points, 5.2 assists, and 2.4 rebounds per game on .436/.368/.873 shooting splits. While those numbers might not tip the needle for an NBA contender, Teague could be an excellent fit to help resolve some of the Philadelphia 76ers’ issues.
For a Philadelphia team that needs help at the point guard position, Jeff Teague fits the desired archetype. A veteran point guard that can make plays and space the floor would be a significant boost for a team looking to get right back into contention next season. While the 32-year-old’s value on the market is unknown, the 76ers should look to bring him aboard, if possible.