LA Replaces Wilkinson with Teague as Starter
- By Jron Magcale, Day 17, 2023
LOS ANGELES - Amidst the team struggling early this season, the Fireballs coaching staff have announced that effective next game that Jamal Wilkinson will not be the starter at SG position and will promote rookie Kareem Teague at the starting position. The move was a result on Jamal Wilkinson's shooting struggles starting the season where the veteran guard has been having a hard time finding his shot through 8 games. He is shooting 31% from the field and 25% from the outside posting averages of 7.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.1apg, 1.2 spg and 0.3 bpg at 26 mpg. He especially struggled vs the Dragons where he shot 1/13 FG and 0/5 3FG before that he shot poorly vs the Scorpions where he was 3/13 FG and 1/6 FG. His struggles in their last defeat vs Skyhawks was the deciding factor as he was 2/10 FG and 1/5 3FG. "We think its in the team's best interest to switch the roles of Jamal (Wilkinson) and Kareem (Teague) moving forward. Jamal is in a shooting slump, hopefully this move would help him adjust and get his shot back, getting less pressure and all." Assistant Coach Alton Wilkes said of the decision.
The rookie Kareem Teague has been impressive in his limited role knocking down outside shots and putting pressure in defense. Teague through 8 games has been averaging 7.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.9 spg (leads team), 0.7 bpg and shooting 45% FG and 46% 3FG. Teague, his best game so far is against the Knights where he scored 18 pts on 6/9 FG, 4/6 3FG and 2/3 FT with 3 rebounds, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in 19 minutes the followed up another decent outing the game after vs Scorpions where he scored 13 pts 4/6 3FG (all his shots were from the outside), 1/1 FT, 4 steals, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 block in 25 minutes. Although he did struggled a few times this season shooting 1/7 FG against the Dragons, he did play well in defense with 3 steals, 1 block and recorded 2 rebounds and 2 assists. Their last game vs the Skyhawks, despite losing, he managed to score 10 points (3/7 FG, 3/4 3FG, 1/2 FT), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and a steal in 17 minutes.
"Well 'Reem (Teague) has been efficient for us on both offense and defense. He played is role very well as our 3&D guy when called upon. He knows his spots and doesn't take a lot of bad shots, his defense is really impressive something we haven't seen in a while since Jordan Carstensen was here. His size and length is definitely a mismatch nightmare in the perimeter and his potential is really intriguing." Assistant Coach Alton Wilkes said about Teague.
It is still early in the season, but this move is more to address the struggles than anything else. The Fireballs is currently last in the Pacific Division with a 3-5 card but there's no reason to panic yet. Almost everybody is still finding their comfort zone but with a revamp Pacific Division there is no room for much error. The team hopes that this move would help the team win ball games. "I trust the coaching staff and I am 100% behind Rudy and Alton on the decisions they are making together. It's early in the season and we have a pretty good and deep lineup to struggle for long, once chemistry kicks in and these guys fits on their role better, we'll be alright. Everybody struggles and it is better to struggle early than late in the season, is what I always say." GM Jron said about the lineup move that was made.