Combo guard Jeff Teague
had a pretty promising freshman season for Wake Forest, being the teams second-leading scorer at 13.9 points per game, and raising that to a very impressive 18.5 points per game over the last 12 games of the season, possibly a sign of things to come. The 62 sophomore spent most of his time off the ball last season, and likely will do so this season as well, as junior point guard Ishmael Smith
will continue to be their primary facilitator.
For a potential point guard, Teague has nice size at 62, with some good length to boot. At just a slight 175 pounds, though, Teague definitely could fill out his frame a bit more, and adding lower and upper body strengths should be among his priorities. He has excellent quickness and overall athleticism, but his body could still improve to take more of a beating in the lane. Reports we've heard suggest that Teague indeed did add some upper body bulk this summer, so it'll be interesting to get a look at him when Wake's season starts.
On the offensive end, Teague has a terrific first step, frequently getting past his man either in isolation situations or by using high screens. He changes speeds very well and has a good handle as well, using crossovers and the occasional spin move to get past his man, while hes also capable of splitting double teams. In the lane, he has a nice mid-range game, relying on an assortment of floaters and runner in the 5-10 foot range, being able to hit lots of these shots from off balanced positions or with a hand in his face. At the rim, he has nice touch and has good creativity, being able to score on tough up-and-under moves and finger rolls on occasion. Despite his slight build, he also gets to the line at a pretty good rate.
While Teague is clearly a very talented player taking his man off the dribble and scoring in the lane, he still has many areas he can improve in. For all his ability, he is prone to a lot of bad decisions, be it forcing tough shots in the lane, running into defenders, or forcing fancy dribble moves, all of which lead to both bad turnovers and bad misses. At the rim, while he definitely has a penchant for drawing contact, hed be a more able finisher if he had more upper body strength to power through contact and still get off high percentage shot attempts, or if he had the lower body strength to power up over the defense more often.
Teague complements his dribble-drive game with a pretty good jump shot, possessing a solid, compact form, which has a high and quick release. Hes very effective with this in space, either spotting up or pulling up, though hes hesitant to shoot with a hand in his face, and his effectiveness falls off considerably in these situations. Getting more comfortable with his shot in close spaces should be a priority. Its also worth noting that at times, Teague has looked extremely comfortable shooting from beyond NBA three-point range, hitting on quite a few of those on the year.
In terms of point guard skills, Teague shows little flashes here and there, mostly on simple pick-and-rolls, transition opportunities, or dump offs in the lane, but hes still clearly a work in progress in this area, and with Ishmael Smith
on the team, hes probably not going to get much chance to play full-time point guard unless he stays until hes a Senior. Developing his point guard game will be critical to his future success, though. To be considered as a real point guard, hes going to need to vastly improve his decision-making, as it leaves a lot to be desired at the moment. His court vision and overall recognition are also question marks at this point.
On the defensive end, Teague uses his length and hands very well, leading to 1.8 steals per game, and he also shows nice foot speed and a decent defensive stance. He overplays passing lanes at times, and is prone to biting for ball fakes, but for a freshman guard, his man and team defense are both fairly solid.
Teague definitely has the physical tools, scoring ability and overall talent to make it in the NBA in some capacity, but his game is still very rough around the edges, specifically with his point guard skills. If he worked hard in the offseason, given the way he finished off last season, he could definitely be on his way to a breakout season, which would certainly open up some eyes. There is still much NBA teams will want to see from him, though, namely becoming a better shooter off the dribble, hitting the weight room a little bit more, and showing better decision-making and floor general traits.