Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague says he felt the Hawks could have gone all the way in 2015 but getting past LeBron James was a hard task. The Hawks, who impressed during the regular season and playoffs, made the Eastern Conference Finals in 2015 before they were swept by the James-led Cleveland Cavaliers.
"I think we did a great job. I don’t think anyone expected us to be that good the year we won 60 games. To be able to come together as a group and play at that high level, I think it was everything we could ask for.
I felt like we were a championship contender, but we went up against that guy. That guy is LeBron (James). As you know, as the world knows, it’s tough to get by him in seven games," Teague told HoopsHype.
Teague admits now being a Hawk is different
After spending a year with the Indiana Pacers and nearly entire three seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Teague returned to Atlanta during the last season after a trade.
Teague, who used to be a starter and one of the main guys on the team before he left the Hawks in 2016, now returned in a much different role as Atlanta is focused on developing their young talent. Teague thinks the future is bright for the Hawks and he is knows that he won't again have a meaningful role on the team.
"I have a special place for Atlanta in my heart, so I wasn’t upset or anything. I was more like, ‘Oh, this is cool. I get to go back to Atlanta.’ I have a home there, so the trade was a little easier for me because I’ve never been traded during the season.
When I got there, the dynamic was totally different. They have a young team, they’re trying to find themselves and get their nucleus together. They’ve got a lot of talented players. We all know Trae is a star. John Collins is a stud.
They’ve got two young wings that I think can really be good. I see the potential for their team can be like Boston. I’m not saying they’re at Boston’s level right now, but the potential to be like Boston if Cam Reddish and De’Andre Hunter grow as I think they can, I think they can be like a Boston team with Clint Capela at center and a couple more veteran pieces, that group can be a special team.
The future is bright in Atlanta, and I always enjoy my time there, even when I was there for those couple of games. Like you said, the dynamic was changing. It’s a young team. We weren’t really playing to win at that time. The season was kind of out of reach for them, but it still was a good time," Teague said.