Teague looks to step up as Pacers face Bucks

MILWAUKEE — Jeff Teague has gotten off to a slow start this season, his first with the Indiana Pacers, but he'll try to take another step forward Thursday as the Pacers try to move above .500 for the first time this season when they take on the Bucks in Milwaukee.

Acquired in a summer trade with Atlanta, Teague is averaging just 8.3 points per game, well below the 15.1 points per game he averaged in his previous five seasons with the Hawks. But the most glaring item in Teague's stat line so far: a 22 percent shooting percentage, including a 0.67 percent mark from beyond the 3-point arc through his first four games with the Pacers.

“It's been tough,” Teague told the Indianapolis Star earlier this week.

“It's way different than any team I've played on in the past,” Teague said. “We've got a lot of talent, but it's just different. It just is. Everything is different, the concepts; everything is totally different. I'm just trying to get used to it.”

Teague has been making up for his poor shooting with other parts of his game. He's averaging 7.2 assists with 3.8 rebounds per game and his teammates are confident that the seven-year veteran will find a comfort level in Indiana and start to revert to form.

“He's been an All-Star,” Paul George said of Teague. “He'll fight through it. He'll get an understanding of how our offense is and what shots he'll get. He'll be better. We're not worried about that.”

Milwaukee, meanwhile, is getting an unexpected boost from rookie point guard Malcom Brodgon.

A second-round pick out of Virginia in this summer's draft, Brogdon has quickly developed into a vital part of the Bucks' rotation early in the season, scoring 7.5 points with 2.5 assists in 18.1 minutes through Milwaukee's first four games.

“He's not really like a rookie,” guard Matthew Dellavedova told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel after Milwaukee's 117-113 victory at New Orleans Tuesday night. “He's very mature. He knows how to play the game; he works hard every day.”

Brodgon's potential playing time increased when Michael Carter-Williams was traded to Chicago late in the exhibition season. He played 23 minutes against Indiana in the preseason finale and finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

Tuesday night at New Orleans, Brogdon scored 14 in 23 minutes and was on the floor down the stretch as the Bucks closed out the Pelicans to move to .500 for the first time this season.

“I'm more and more comfortable, for sure,” Brogdon said. “I think it's all about experience. It's about time on the floor.

“And then I think it's once you get on the floor, it's having the confidence to make shots and execute the right way. I have a lot of trust from coach Kidd. He believes in me and so do my teammates.

“We have great vets — Jet (Jason Terry) and Steve Novak. They're always talking to me. It's very helpful when you have people that believe in you and want you to do well.”

The Pacers won the season series with Milwaukee, 3-1, last season with Paul George averaging 22.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists in those meetings.

Giannis Antetokounmpo leads Milwaukee with 23.3 points per game in 2016-17 and averaged 16.0 points and 6.5 boards against the Pacers last season.