Jeff Teague is rarely demonstrative. Self-described as a “reserved guy”, shows of emotion, be it roaring to the crowd or chirping at officials, are usually the exception to his even-keeled norm. Unlikely to punctuate a potential four-point play by counting it out for fans, perhaps his calm, cool exterior is somewhat to blame for why one specific skill of his has until recently gone unnoticed.
But, after victimizing Dennis Schroder, Patty Mills, and Goran Dragic in three of Indiana’s last five games, it’s become increasingly more difficult to ignore Jeff Teague’s sneaky adeptness at drawing contact on jump shots.
According to Synergy Sports, Teague is awarded free throws on 2.2 percent of his jump shots, which places him in a tie with Toronto’s Kyle Lowry for the second-highest percentage among players with at least 200 possessions, trailing only Houston’s Lou Williams (3.5%).
Teague doesn’t adjust in mid-air like Jamal Crawford, pump fake like Dwyane Wade, lean in like Lou Williams, or bring the ball through defenders arms like Chris Paul, but what he may lack in artistry he makes up for with consistent savvy.
Here’s a closer look at his tried-and-true method. Indiana’s speedy guard waits for Myles Turner to set a ball screen, he starts to accelerate, and as soon as he feels even the slightest amount of contact from his man fighting over the top of the pick he instinctively goes into his shooting motion.
Don’t be fooled by the fact that he’s attempting an off-balanced, pull-up three-pointer early in the shot clock, Teague displays plenty of patience on these sort of plays.
Take this possession from Sunday’s afternoon contest against the Hawks, for example. Unable to get the switch with Ersan Ilyasova, he prudently calls for Thaddeus Young to re-screen Schroder. With his former protege grabbing his arm to avoid getting beat off the dribble, Teague instead opts to lift up from behind the arc. The shot itself didn’t have much of a chance, but he’s shooting better than 85 percent from the line this season.
Teague doesn’t complete many four-point plays going this route. Per NBA Miner, he only has two whereas Lowry (7) and Williams (5) have twelve combined. Still, he manages to earn easy points while simultaneously drawing key fouls against opposing point guards.
It’s time to notice what Jeff Teague isn’t bragging about.