Boston Celtics: 5 Reasons Jason Terry May Be the Jet, but He's NOT the Answer
Terry spent eight seasons with Dallas and proved to be a valued scorer off the bench, posting a career average of 16.1 points per game.
His signing seems like perfect timing as Ray Allen is reportedly taking his talents to South Beach to play for the Miami Heat, according to Yahoo.com's Marc Spears. But replacing a future Hall of Fame inductee won't be a turn-key operation.
Jason Terry may be known as the "Jet," but he won't be the answer to Boston's problems moving forward.
Here are five reasons why that is the case.
Jason Terry Doesn't Make the Celtics Any Younger
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Jason Terry is no spring chicken.
The former Arizona Wildcat has been logging NBA minutes since 1999 when he broke in with the Atlanta Hawks. Now 13 seasons deep into his career, Terry may have a couple more productive years left in the tank.
Just two years younger than Ray Allen, Terry adds to the Celtics' group of old legs. He can still play over 30 minutes per game, but he is no longer the same player he was several years ago.
Sports Illustrated's Zach Lowe assessed the long-in-the-tooth Celtics:
In the big picture, an older team only gets older — Terry will be 35 when next season begins — and it’s hard to see how this core could topple Chicago, Miami and perhaps Oklahoma City in consecutive playoff series. Boston fans will trumpet the near-win over Miami in the Eastern Conference finals, but Chris Bosh missed four of those seven games and played only 14 minutes in the fifth, and Bulls point guard Derrick Rose’s knee injury effectively removed a juggernaut team that could have faced the Celtics in the second round and has eaten Boston alive over the last two seasons. The Celtics were close, and they were dealing with their own injuries, including one to shooting guard Avery Bradley. But Bradley is not Bosh, and bad things can happen suddenly when players hit their late 30s.
Verging on the downhill slope of his NBA journey, Terry's production has tapered off a bit. Last season with the Mavericks, the 2009 Sixth Man of the Year shot 43 percent from the field, his worst efficiency since the 2003-04 season. In addition, Terry's 15.1 points per game was his lowest scoring output since the 2004-05 season.
Plus/Minus: The Celtics Fared Better When Ray Allen Was on the Court
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Both Jason Terry and Ray Allen transitioned to sixth man duties for their franchises. But even when Allen's performance declined last season, the Celtics still played better when he was on the court.
With Terry, it's a different story.
The plus/minus statistic helps compare how a player's team produces when he's in the game. The number is a reflection of a team's points scored subtracted by their points allowed when a certain player is on the court.
Even though Terry scored more than Allen and racked up more assists, the Mavericks didn't benefit as much from his presence as the Celtics did from Allen's.
Terry Is an Undersized Guard Surrounded by Young and Undersized Talent
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Jason Terry is a 6'2", 180-pound two-guard—not exactly the ideal NBA frame.
He's undoubtedly showcased an ability to score, regardless of his height. Yet, his small stature makes for a perplexing backcourt in Boston.
If he is playing next to the 6'1" Rondo or the 6'2" Bradley, the Celtics sacrifice height on the court. Opponents can capitalize on that vulnerability by substituting size into the game.
All three players can play point guard, so how does Terry gel into the system? The Jet is a spark plug who can score in a hurry. However, as a combo guard, he must coincide with the Celtics' young promise manning the same position.
With the Mavs this past season, Terry didn't have the same caliber of talent starting in front of him at guard. There was the 39-year-old Jason Kidd getting the starting gig while fighting off Father Time. Then there was Delonte West, who was starting at the off-guard spot. Kidd and West stand taller than Boston's guards and didn't detract from Terry's court time.
The depth chart is comprised differently in Boston.
Jason Terry's Effectiveness Hinges on Possessions and Shot Attempts
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At this point in their careers, Jason Terry and Ray Allen tally similar numbers. Nevertheless, there are some significant fundamental differences in their playing styles.
In 63 games with Dallas last season, Terry jacked up 830 shots from the field, including 365 from beyond the arc. Surprisingly, Paul Pierce took just 60 more shots last year than Terry did with the Mavericks.
Allen, on the opposite end of the spectrum, took 493 shots in 46 contests last season. 234 were three point attempts.
For the NBA's greatest three-point shooter to take 131 less shots from the three-point line indicates just how unselfish a player Allen is. Granted, the statistics are a bit skewed due to the fact Allen played in 17 fewer games than Terry. But he still managed to knock down shots at a more efficient clip, primarily as a set shooter.
According to MySynergySports.com—a statistical scouting database—Terry creates his own shots using the pick and roll 25.8 percent of the time, while Allen likes to come off screens for a set shot 35.7 percent of the time.
It's about doing more with less, and that's been Allen's method of operation—not Terry's. At the end of the day, there's only one ball to go around.
Glaring Needs Remain for Boston
Syracuse's Fab Melo
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Jason Terry will help the Celtics with his natural scoring abilities, but other issues must be addressed for the Celtics. One that sticks out in particular is: Who is going to rebound?
Terry has averaged 2.7 rebounds per game over his NBA career. For a player of his stature, that's relatively respectable. Yet, the C's must find an able-bodied player who can crash the boards because that is not Terry's forte.
During the 2011-12 season, Boston ranked dead last in rebounds per game, according to ESPN.com statistics. The roster lacked size and girth. Consequently, GM Danny Ainge aimed to fix that in June's draft.
Fab Melo, Jared Sullinger and Kris Joseph were taken by Boston with picks 21, 22 and 51 respectively. These prospects should make life easier on the glass and boost the C's size. Still, if another piece was inked in free agency, it would ensure that the Celts would have enough presence to box out next season.
ESPN Boston's Chris Forsberg offered this sentiment when examining the makeup of the Celtics:
While the Celtics have moved quickly to reassemble their roster this offseason and fill up many of the available spots, this process could take some time to sort out. They can't get themselves another Allen, but inking another body might aid the acceptance stage for Celtics fans.
Boston certainly hooked a nice free agent in Jason Terry. Unfortunately, the team must find more complimentary options in order to keep within striking distance of elite franchises like its arch-rival the Miami Heat.
According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the Celtics have met with Houston Rockets guard/forward Courtney Lee. Perhaps Lee's 6'5" body will fit the billing, but he averaged only 2.7 rebounds per game last season.
If Boston hauls Lee in, it will have to be through a sign-and-trade because of the team's salary cap, indicates ESPN.com's Stein. The four-year pro nailed 40 percent his three-point attempts during the 2011-12 season and has less mileage on his tires than Terry does.
As it stands now, the Celtics could certainly use more viable parts to keep their engine running.