In his return to Philips Arena as the Minnesota Timberwolves’ starting point guard, former Atlanta Hawk Jeff Teague had a rougher night than the fans who get humiliated by Hot Sauce at halftime.
As if it wasn’t bad enough that he shot 1-for-12 from the field and tallied a scant two points, Teague went into a complete nuclear meltdown in the final minute.
Down by one with just under 40 seconds remaining, Teague threw a lazy lob across the floor to Jimmy Butler, who had a defender draped all over him. The pass was knocked down with two hands by Malcolm Delaney and the Hawks gained possession of the loose ball. After Dennis Schroeder found air on a floater insider the paint, the T-wolves had 15 seconds to work with.
Tom Thibodeau quickly signaled for a timeout, which advanced the ball past halfcourt and made Teague the inbounder to mitigate the impact he’d have on the play. However, a resourcefully awful Teague suffered a mild brain fart, held onto the ball for the five second violation and even tried to call a phantom timeout the T-wolves didn’t have.
All in all, Teague needs a reset. Not just from Monday night’s stink bomb, but from a nightmarish January in general. Since missing nearly two weeks to rest a sprained MCL in his left knee, Teague has been in a funk that’s a resulted in him barfing up a 38 percent shooting percentage, including 23 percent behind the arc, 13 points and 5.8 assists.
Midway through the fourth quarter of Minnesota’s win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, Teague had two points, was battling through a sore ankle, hadn’t made a field goal and dished four assists. According to Teague, he advised Thibodeau to keep Tyus Jones on the floor. He was expected to be ready for Monday’s matchup, but it may have been best if he’d made a similar gesture and taken more R&R.
Despite Minnesota’s surge, Teague has been the weakest link this month and the Hawks exploited him to earn a win at home. Teague’s player efficiency rating has dipped far below the league average and the T-Wolves are facing an uncomfortable conversation about Teague, whom they bestowed with a three-year, $57 million deal this summer.