Minnesota Timberwolves: First-half player grades for the Wolves

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 12: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 12: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Jeff Teague
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK- JANUARY 8: Jeff Teague #0 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Jeff Teague

  • Has appeared in 28 games and is averaging 11.7 points and 8.7 assists per game
  • Shooting a career-low 40.3 percent on field goal attempts

Jeff Teague is trending towards having the worst year of his career since he became a starter way back in 2011.

He’s averaging his lowest point-per-game number since the 2011-12 season, as well as his worst field goal percentage and second-worst 3-point percentage during that span.

On the bright side, Teague is averaging a career-high 8.4 assists per game, although that is partially due to what appears to be real tentativeness from Teague to let his shot fly, regardless of where he is on the floor. His usage rate through the first half of the season would also be a career-low.

Teague’s shooting the second-least shots at the rim in his career, only trailing last year, and his defense has not been where it needs to be as he’s struggled to stay in front of opposing guards and hasn’t fought through screens with consistency.

It’s likely that this slight downturn from Teague is due to his ongoing and recurring ankle issues; Teague has only played in 28 of 42 games and re-injured his ankle during Saturday’s win over New Orleans. And because it’s his ankle, it’s fair to assume that Teague may struggle to entirely overcome the injury for the rest of the season.

Luckily for the Wolves, Tyus Jones has played solid basketball throughout the season and appears to be kicking it into a new gear with Saunders at the helm — more on Jones in a moment.

Teague’s contract situation is somewhat complicated, with a $19 million player option for next season. At 31 years old, it would make some sense for Teague to stay in Minnesota for one more year, especially if his year finishes as it’s started. If he comes back and finishes the season strong, however, he may choose to hit the open market and look for one last multi-year, high-dollar deal as he exits his prime.

But if it’s a disappointing end to the season, look for Teague to be back at a too-high salary $19 million.

Grade: C