The Hawks announced shortly before their Game 4 matchup against the Bucks that Trae Young would not be available to play because of a bone bruise in his right foot, leaving coach Nate McMillan with an open slot in his starting lineup. Lou Williams emerged as the obvious candidate to fill the void, but Charles Barkley had another player in mind.
On Tuesday night’s “NBA on TNT” pregame show, the Hall of Famer suggested the Hawks should start Jeff Teague, a veteran point guard with plenty of playoff experience.
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“I would start Jeff Teague because if you start Lou Williams, I don’t see — yeah, Jeff Teague,” Barkley said. “I would start him.”
Just one small problem there, Chuck.
“He’s not exactly on the Atlanta Hawks’ roster,” Ernie Johnson said.
Yep, Teague is actually a member of the Bucks — you know, the other team in the 2021 Eastern Conference finals.
In Barkley’s defense, Teague did play for the Hawks from 2009-2016 and appeared in 25 games for Atlanta last season. He began the 2020-21 campaign as a member of the Celtics, but he was sent to the Magic in March as part of the trade that brought Evan Fournier to Boston. After Orlando waived Teague, he signed with Milwaukee and has been on the Bucks’ roster ever since.
Shaquille O’Neal didn’t miss an opportunity to clown Barkley, of course, calling him a “big dummy.” When Barkley asked the panel to name another Hawks guard, O’Neal threw out Spud Webb, the former Atlanta fan favorite best known for winning the 1986 Slam Dunk Contest despite standing at just 5-6. Not super helpful, Shaq.
McMillan did end up going with Williams, who led the Hawks with 13 points on 4-of-4 shooting from the field in the first half. Good call not listening to Barkley.