Over at Truth About It, the TrueHoop blog for the Washington Wizards, Kyle Weidie and I preview tonight’s Hawks-Wizards match-up at Phillips Arena. We did this prior to the previous contest between these two teams, and in that piece I downplayed Shelvin Mack’s strong early season, referring to his “one good game” against the Knicks.
Welp, early indications are that Mr. Mack Attack is a Truth About It reader and didn’t like what I had to say, because he’s been shutting me up ever since. Including the previous loss to the Wizards, in which Mack scored 11 points and added six assists, Mack has been on the best 5-game stretch of his career, averaging 10.6 PPG and 4.8 APG on 22-for-42 (52%) shooting from the field and 4-for-11 (36%) shooting from 3-point distance in 22 MPG.
He’s an aggregate plus-27 over that stretch, and Weidie assured me at the start that Wizards fans would much rather have Mack as John Wall’s backup than Eric Maynor. If Mack can keep that production up, he will start to enter the conversation as one of the best backup point guards in the NBA.
Jeff Teague was badly outplayed by Wall in that previous match-up, scoring 15 with 5 assists on 5-for-18 shooting compared to 26-and-12 for Wall on 9-for-18 shooting. It appeared that Teague’s production had slipped since his hot start that led to speculation about his All-Star prospects.
But has Teague’s season really slipped? In the four games since the loss to the Wizards, Teague has matched up against Tony Parker, Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook, who range from All-Star locks (Parker, Paul and Westbrook) to good candidates (Irving). During that stretch, Teague has averaged 13.75 PPG and 6.25 APG on 19-for-47 (40%) shooting from the field and 5-for-11 (45%) shooting from three. Over the same stretch, the opposing team’s starting point guard has averaged 12 PPG and 8.25 APG on 20-for-49 (41%) shooting from the field and 2-for-13 (15%) shooting from 3-point distance.
Admittedly, those numbers are skewed slightly by the 0-for-9 goose egg by Irving, who has been described as “sulking” since a confrontation with Dion Waiters in a players-only meeting. Nonetheless, that’s an impressive run for Teague that included games against multiple future Hall of Famers.