7 Reasons Why Jason Terry Can Help Boston Celtics in the Hunt for a Title
Having already locked up veteran Kevin Garnett, the Celtics added a new face to next year's roster on Tuesday when they signed veteran combo guard Jason Terry to a three-year deal for just over $15 million.
Terry is a 13-year veteran who has been used effectively as a shooting guard, point guard and sixth man throughout his career.
Today's deal doesn't mean that Ray Allen is finished in a Celtics uniform. It could serve as a form of insurance, should Allen decide to leave.
Regardless of Allen's eventual whereabouts, adding Terry is a move made with only one goal in mind.
Winning the NBA Championship.
Terry is 34 years old. He's not going to blossom into a better player, discover a new basketball-related skill or be a building block for a bright future in Boston. Unless, of course, that future is now.
What does Terry bring to Boston, and how will it impact next season's mission, which is not just to return to the Finals, but to win them?
A Backup for Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo has a motor that never seems to wind down. It wouldn't be terrible if head coach Doc Rivers could give Rondo a break every now and then.
When Rondo went to the bench last season, the Celtics would turn to Keyon Dooling. Dooling is a great guy, but he's not nearly as quick or effective as he was when he was younger.
Dooling's offense is not good enough to create good shots for either himself or his teammates when he's running the point.
Last season, the Celtics' offense wasn't too impressive with Rondo on the floor. Boston's 91.8 points per game were 26th in the NBA. When Rondo was out of the game, the offense got even more sporadic.
Adding Terry to the mix will change that. Terry can handle the ball. He's not a pure point guard, but he's a player who has very good ball-handling skills. Terry will instantly make the Celtics' reserves a greater offensive threat.
Offense off the bench was one thing last year's team lacked. That team still made it to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, but that's not going to be good enough for the 2012-13 Celtics.
Ryan Anderson of the Orlando Magic led the NBA in made three-point shots last season. He connected on 166 of them.
Jason Terry finished second. He nailed 138 three-balls last season, and he hit 37.8 percent of the threes he attempted. He's 38 percent for his career, so last season wasn't a fluke—it was business as usual.
That's the type of business the Celtics really need. Boston was 21st in three-point field goals made last season. Adding Terry should go a long way towards moving Boston up that ranking—way up it.
Ray Allen Insurance
Kevin Garnett is not the only member of the Celtics' Big Three who had a contract that expired at he end of last season.
Ray Allen did too, and unlike Garnett, Allen has yet to re-sign with the Celtics.
He may still end up coming back to Boston. With Jason Terry on board, any loss the Celtics may feel from an Allen departure will be somewhat negated.
Remember, the Celtics went through portions of both the regular and postseason last year without Allen at full strength.
Next year, Boston figures to have a healthy Jason Terry, and as for Allen...
Jason Terry and Ray Allen Could Form a Lethal Bench Duo
Don't buy into anything you hear about Allen and Terry being a bad combo for Boston.
The Celtics seem likely to field the same starting backcourt they did as the regular season concluded last year. That was a pairing of Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley.
So how will the Celtics be able to work two talented guards into the rotation off the bench?
Terry and Allen pair up quite nicely, actually.
Terry is a better ball-handler, better penetrator and quicker defender.
Allen is taller, he's still probably a better three-point shooter, but unlike Terry, he needs someone to get him the ball in three-point range when he's open. Terry can do that.
In addition to both of them being exceptional three-point shooters, they're also both very good free-throw shooters.
Allen and Terry might be a bit redundant as a starting backcourt. As a pair of backups, they could be a lethal combo.
The last two seasons have ended the same way for the Boston Celtics.
Losing to the Miami Heat and being eliminated from the playoffs. It's probably getting a little tiresome.
In 2011, Jason Terry and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
Now Terry joins a Celtics team that will start next season with the goal of beating the Heat en route to the franchise's 18th NBA Championship.
Boston has already added depth to a team that struggled when it went to the bench last season. Those additions have come in the form of three draft picks.
Adding young players like Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo is an important part of building the Celtics for the future. It's not the best way to build for a run at a ring next year, though.
Terry is a 13-year NBA veteran. He's made eight trips to the playoffs and won one ring.
Adding Terry doesn't just add a veteran, it doesn't just add a player who has beaten the Miami Heat and it doesn't just add a winner, either.
It adds all three.
Jason Terry might be getting a little old, but he's still a good defender. Terry is currently ninth among active NBA players in steals per game, with 1.9.
With Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley, the Celtics already have one of the best defensive backcourts in the league.
Now the drop-off when Boston heads to its reserves won't be nearly as pronounced. Any individual player's defense is only as good as the teammates he's surrounded by.
Doc Rivers' Celtics teams have always played good defense. Last season's team was among the league's best. Boston was one of only three teams that allowed less than 90 points a game during the regular season.
Boston managed to accomplish that while lacking depth and as one of the NBA's worst rebounding teams. Depth and rebounding are usually hallmarks of good defensive basketball, yet last season's Celtics were able to buck that trend.
The addition of Terry means that next season's team won't need to defy conventional wisdom to get stops. The rebounding could still use some shoring up, but "depth" looks like it will be a team strength, not a weakness.
A Natural Bench Player
Just in case there's any doubt about Jason Terry's ability to provide key off-the-bench contributions to the 2012-13 Celtics, here's something to consider.
Coming off the bench is old-hat for Terry.
Since the beginning of the 2007-08 season, Terry has played in 378 games and started only 68 of them. Terry used to start when he was younger, but his career has taken off since becoming a bench guy.
Terry won the NBA Sixth Man of The Year Award for the 2008-09 season. In the five seasons since he became a full-time bench player, he's never finished lower than third in the voting for Sixth Man of The Year.
The Celtics could not have found a better player on the current free-agent market to add to their bench than Jason Terry.