The Hawks parted ways with their beloved and former all-star point guard Jeff Teague last offseason, trading him in a three-way deal that gave Atlanta the 12th pick in the draft. The move was understandable, even though Teague just played his two most effective seasons. The Hawks already had an outstanding young backup point guard and Jeff Teague was entering the final year of his contract. However, trading away one of the franchise’s best point guards in his prime could have haunted Atlanta for years to come. Looking back at the trade a year later, it is clear the Hawks made the right decision.
It is hard to say anyone really lost this trade, as the Jazz received George Hill, who helped lead Utah back to the playoffs and into the second round, the Pacers received Jeff Teague who averaged over 15 points a game and set a career high in assists with 7.8 per contest, and the Hawks drafted Taurean Prince with the 12th overall pick. Taurean Prince evolved in his first year. He went from being a bench-warmer to a full-time starter in the playoffs. He became the first Hawks player since Pete Maravich to score double-digits in his first four career playoff games. The potential Prince possesses is enough to satisfy the Hawks for parting ways with Jeff Teague, but that is not all the Hawks gained from this deal.
Departing with Jeff Teague allowed 23-year old Dennis Schroder to start at point guard. Year one was not all flowers and rainbows, but Schroder showed toughness and a relentless attitude towards getting better that points to a bright future for the German product. He proved to be a much more explosive scorer than Teague, but at times his decision-making came into question, which can be seen by his 3.3 turnovers a game compared to only 6.3 assists. Although, that is to be expected for such a young player who was probably forced to do too much on offense due to the lack of scoring options the Hawks have.
While Schroder’s regular season play was more than acceptable, it was his playoff performance that showed this organization they had made the right decision in making him a starter. He led the way for the Hawks in scoring with 24.7 points per game on 45.5% shooting. This is something that Hawks fans can come to expect from Schroder, as many times Coach Budenholzer turned to him in the fourth quarter of playoff games even with Teague around. Schroder is a primetime gamer that loves the spotlight, but it was his composure during this stretch that was beyond his years. The entire offense started and ended with Schroder. He led the team with 7.7 assists, and his decision making was pristine with just 1.7 turnovers per game. At this point, it is clear the future of the Hawks lies in the young German’s hands.
The Taurean Prince selection will continue to be judged as he progresses through his career. His rookie season was encouraging, as his floor is now much higher than it was a year ago. If not an all-star, Prince should develop into the prototypical 3-and-D player that has become so coveted around the league. However, it is undoubtedly the progression the Hawks saw in Dennis Schroder that sets the Hawks apart from the other teams in this trade. While the Jazz and Pacers may have improved, it is hard not to give the Hawks an A-grade on this move a year later.