Winning cures a lot of ails in the NBA, but winning also requires sacrifice from players in one form or another. Whether its more time spent at practice, embracing a new role or taking on a lesser one, any or all of the above can happen as a team finds its winning ways.
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jeff Teague is in his ninth NBA season and on his third team in the last three seasons. In that time frame, he’s gone from a No. 2 scorer (in 2015-16 with the Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers last season) to the No. 4 scorer (this season). Injuries robbed Teague of 11 games this season, but otherwise he has been his usual self — save for a lesser scoring role — in Minnesota.
As the Wolves prepare for the Houston Rockets tonight (8 ET, NBA League Pass), Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune details how Teague is dealing with a lesser scoring role under coach Tom Thibodeau to help the Wolves prosper:
“It’s just not how I play,” said Teague, who averaged 15.3 points last season with Indiana. “But someone has to make a sacrifice, and it was me.”
Thibodeau, the Wolves coach and president of basketball operations, repeatedly has called Teague one of the league’s best point guards and said the 29-year-old has played himself back into good form after that knee injury sidelined him for two weeks.
“You look at the strengths of your team,” Thibodeau said. “There are a lot of scorers on the team and so when you look at the way we’ve played offensively — we’re fifth in scoring, third in offensive efficiency, when you look at all the offensive categories — it tells you how good we’ve been. The important thing is the winning and understanding what goes into that. Everyone has to sacrifice something for the team.
“For Jeff, maybe it has been some scoring opportunities. But all of our guys have sacrificed some of that. Jimmy’s shots are down. KAT’s shots are down. Wigs’ shots are down. But the team is winning, and that’s the most important thing there is.”
“It is what it is,” Teague said. “You know, we’re winning, so that’s all that matters.”
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