NBA Picks with Ed Solano: Atlanta Hawks vs San Antonio Spurs

Written by on January 17, 2020

Hawks vs. Spurs NBA Pick

The surprise Jeff Teague trade could help the Atlanta Hawks when they visit the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night. Will it be enough for the Hawks to cover? Is the total too high?

Atlanta Hawks (9-32) vs. San Antonio Spurs (17-22)

Friday, January 17 at 8:30 PM ET, AT&T Center

Teague Comes Back Home

The Minnesota Timberwolves agreed to trade Jeff Teague and Treveon Graham to the Atlanta Hawks for Allen Crabbe.

Teague is expected to be a backup for star point guard Trae Young, who reportedly asked the Hawks for reinforcements, to which the team said they “would be getting him some help on the roster soon.”

The Timberwolves wanted to part ways with Teague since he lost the starting point guard spot to Shabazz Napier. Crabbe, on the other hand, never really fits with the young Hawks team, averaging just 5.1 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in only 18.6 minutes over 28 games. 

Trae Young Respects Teague. He called his new teammate “one of the most underrated point guards in the league.” With Teague, the Hawks will get roster depth, another playmaker and a mentor for Young. Teague played his first seven seasons with the Hawks so he is familiar with the team and he comes to Atlanta after averaging 13.2 points, 6.1 assists, and 2.6 assists in 27.8 minutes over 34 games (13 starts) with the Timberwolves this season.

The Hawks have the worst record in the Eastern Conference at 9-32 and not having a reliable backup point guard was one of the main weaknesses of their roster. According to NBA.com, Atlanta has a 108.2 offensive rating with Young on the floor and a 90.7 with him off it. A veteran like Teague (plus-0.3 Offensive Box Plus/Minus).

Teague’s best years were in Atlanta and he is shooting 44.8 percent from the field and 37.9 percent from beyond the arc. That familiarity with Atlanta should help both him and his new team. 

Will Teague Play in San Antonio?

Whether this surprising trade goes down in time for Teague to play against the Spurs remains a mystery as we go to press. Adding Jeff Teague (minus-2.3 Defensive Box Plus/Minus) to the equation is key for the total here but even if he plays, 230.5 is very high, even with the different offensive weapons that both teams possess and with Teague potentially being a liability on the defensive end of the court. 

Not having Allen Crabbe (minus-1.6 Defensive Box Plus/Minus) anymore does help the defense because DeAndre’ Bembry (plus-1.3 Defensive Box Plus/Minus) will get more minutes in the backcourt and he is one of the best defenders that the Hawks have. This trade was excellent for the Hawks and while they may not win on Friday, their defense will get better right away. 

Betting Trends and Prediction 

The Under is: 

Under is 4-0 in Atlanta’s last four games as a road underdog

Under is 5-0 in Atlanta’s last five Friday games

Under is 5-0 in Atlanta’s last five road games

Under is 6-0 in San Antonio’s last six games against a team with a losing straight up record

Under is 8-2 in San Antonio’s last 10 home games following a road trip of seven or more days

Under is 5-0 in the last five meetings

The Hawks are just 4-18 on the road this season and they have lost four of their last five games but they looked good in their 123-110 home win against the Suns on Tuesday and having Bembry out there on defense for more minutes improves their short-term outlook. The Spurs have lost two of their last three games, including their 106-100 road setback against the Heat on Wednesday and while they have a better shot at making the playoffs than the Hawks, they have had a tough season at just 17-22. 

DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge have been productive on offense but their third-best scorer is Patty Mills at just 11.7 points per game. DeRozan and Aldridge still have gas left in the tank but when Jakob Poeltl (plus-4.4 Box Plus/Minus) is your best player from an efficiency perspective then it is hard to expect much from the rest of the roster. 

Free NBA Pick: Under 230.5 (-110) at 5Dimes


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