Jeff Teague searching to carve out a role

Teague is averaging 15.1 points, 6.8 assists per game with the Pacers. [Frank McGrath/PS&E]

Teague is averaging 15.1 points, 6.8 assists per game with the Pacers. [Frank McGrath/PS&E]

The consensus amongst Pacers fans and members of the organization alike may conclude that Jeff Teague was the biggest offseason acquisition for the franchise as they built for this season and beyond.

Whether it be because of his experience, track record and veteran leadership, or simply because of his name recognition in and around the city of Indianapolis, Teague was brought in to solidify the point guard position. He was sought after for his ball handling, quickness, and interest in playing for his hometown team.

Over a month into the season, Teague remains the man — out of a handful team president Larry Bird persuaded to join Indiana this past summer — with the brightest light shining over his head. The light shines not because of any negativity such as poor play or a bad attitude, but rather to further determine the level of consistency the former Pike High School standout will uphold.

Teague scored more than 16 points three times through the Pacers’ first seven games of the 2016-17 season, a stretch where they went 3-4. He posted nine (twice), four, and zero points in his other starts. Teague did, however, average nearly eight assists a game in Indiana’s first seven contests versus only three turnovers per. That averages out to be better than a 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Over the next nine games, Teague would proceed to score 20 or more points in five and reach double figures in all nine. The assists did not drop off and he also posted a positive +/- in five of those games. No improvement for Indiana as a team, though, winning just four of nine.

Needless to say, some of these numbers make one scratch their head. A couple solid statistics and more losses than wins. Not Teague’s fault necessarily, but a higher level of consistency could have resulted in one or more of the losing efforts resulting in a win(s).

Head coach Nate McMillan might agree with that sentiment.

The Pacers have won their past two games with Teague failing to reach double figures. His 10 assists on Sunday night were a season-high in Indiana’s 91-70 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, and came one game after dishing out eight assists in a 118-97 blowout against the Brooklyn Nets.

Again, there are positives to build off of and inconsistency to improve upon for the Pacers’ starting point guard. As McMillan leads his team out west for a five-game swing, Teague’s ability to contribute may not need to be shown in points scored, but rather by handling the ball effectively, defending and helping Indiana to some wins.

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