The year before the Golden State Warriors set their 73-win record breaking NBA regular season mark, the Atlanta Hawks flirted with breaking the regular season win record. The 2014-15 Hawks ultimately went 60-22, losing in the Conference Finals to a hellbent Cavaliers team in LeBron James’ first year back. But by many measures, the Hawks were the toughest out in the NBA that year — and that Hawks team was run by point guard Jeff Teague, quarterbacking a team that sent five guys and their coach to the NBA All-Star Game.
Teague, an excellent shooter and passer, is now in his hometown of Indianapolis preparing to make Pacers majordomo Larry Bird look like a genius. Bird picked up Al Jefferson to man the post and the Pacers return Paul George, who has Scottie Pippen-level talent on both sides of the ball. But it’s Teague’s team to run — and he’s playing at home in a contract year. Also: Teague has doubtless been assured by Bird that the huge Indiana contract that awaits him next year won’t be purchased in pure stats but in wins and leadership. By season’s end, despite Chris Paul, people may be talking about Teague as the best Wake Forest-bred point guard in the NBA. And with Tim Duncan gone, the best Wake Forest guy around.