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MaCio Teague Should Rain Buckets for Baylor

The Bears have their shooting guard of the future

NCAA Basketball: NC-Asheville at St. Mary's Andrew Villa-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, Baylor landed their shooting guard of the future as MaCio Teague announced his decision to transfer to Baylor. Teague played two seasons at UNC Asheville. He’ll sit one season, then have two years of eligibility.

Teague was an All-Big South selection. He averaged 16 points and shot 43% from 3-point range on 217 attempts last season. He hit 45% of his 150 triples as a freshman. His shooting will be a giant boost for a Baylor team that finished the 2017 season 320th in 3-point attempts and spent most of the year as the Big 12’s worst squad from distance.

I took a look at Teague’s stats and watched quite a bit of film. We’ll look at his strengths and weaknesses. Then we’ll close with a projection for his career.

Strengths:

Teague is a fantastic 3-point shooter. His form is a little unorthodox. He doesn’t get much lift on his jump shot. But as Uncle Drew reminds us, basketball is about buckets. He’s hit over 43% of his 3-point attempts in two seasons. He’s good at making shots off screens, which should help him score out of floppy and Baylor’s single-double sets:

The Bears should be thrilled with Teague’s defensive potential. The Bulldogs demanded a lot of him on defense. He did a brilliant job stunting and closing out on shooters. He also did a wonderful job bodying bigger players when they elected to switch. The Bears have had to do that some when teams shoot the Bears out of zone and crush their traditional hope of weaking and icing pick-and-rolls. It’s impressive how well he sticks with Clemson’s big man and fights for position:

His energy and length will be a huge boost for the Bears. He has a 6-foot-9 wingspan, which will help him deflect passes in Baylor’s zone. He finished in the top 350 in steal rate. Here, the Bulldogs elect to have Teague tag the roller. That’s not something Baylor will do. But the clip shows how much effort he gives and displays how he does a nice job forcing Clemson’s offense toward the baseline. With the offensive workload he had, this man should be great for the Bears:

The Bears are also getting an excellent ball-handler. He ranked 13th in turnover rate as a freshman and in the top 350 in that category as a sophomore. UNC Asheville ran a ton of pick-and-rolls, and he displayed a nice ability to get around hard hedges and force opposing defenders into each other. The 2018 Bears were swallowed in too many games by teams that could hard hedge. Couple his high basketball IQ and nice handle with his shooting, and he’s been excellent at making triples when teams elect to not hedge:

Teague’s handle helps him get to the rim if teams elect to switch or if he gets to face a big man. He looks a lot like Al Freeman, at times (and has the same number):

Weaknesses:

Teague has struggled to score at the rim. He has a decent euro step and can make shots from some difficult angles. But he often tries to take shots from too far away, settling for tough floaters:

The final concern is that Teague isn’t great at creating for others. His assist rate isn’t high and he doesn’t have a great ability to set up teammates. He should do a much better job playing off the ball. His game and shooting at the rim will, at times, remind fans of Lester Medford. But both are much better job they can take open 3-point shots and work as secondary ball-handlers looking to hit shots.

Projection:

A host of elite programs wanted Teague. Louisville, Oregon and Virginia all pushed for him. Those programs know how to identify talent. And they just missed landing one.

Teague’s a high ceiling, medium floor guy. His shooting should translate, as he’s hit so many shots, even with an unorthodox form. I’d expect him to be Baylor’s best 3-point shooting two guard since Brady Heslip. Add in his nice work in the pick-and-roll, and his defensive potential, and it’s easy to fall in love with his game.

If things don’t quite turn out so rosy, it will likely be due to his inability to create for others and make shots at the rim. We don’t know quite how the 2020 and 2021 Bears will look around him. If his teammates can’t create shots, he may struggle to have the impact the Bears need.

But Teague is a star from beyond the arc, and he provides exceptional effort and IQ on defense. He’ll be paired in the back-court with Davion Mitchell, a player who compliments him extraordinarily well. If the Bears can land top 20 recruit Balsa Koprivicia too, then the 2020 Bears have a superb shot to start the next decade as well as they did the last one.