Jason Terry Stretches the Ray Allen Mold in Boston

Rob Mahoney@RobMahoneyNBA Lead WriterAugust 20, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 08:  Jason Terry #31 of the Dallas Mavericks handles the ball during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on March 8, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Suns defeated the Mavericks 96-94.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Any wing player with a jump shot present for Ray Allen's exodus from Boston was to the be the inevitable victim of a familiar line of analysis. Despite the fact that players come in all shapes, sizes and talents, the apparent replacing of one player with another juxtaposes two individuals in an all too convenient way to ignore; rather than assess the individual strengths and weaknesses of the Celtic to take Allen's roster spot on their own merits, all that they offer is held up against Allen's shadow in a predictable measurement.

Of course, Jason Terry—who is seen as stepping in for Allen considering the timing of his arrival and the tilt of his skill set—only invites such thinking with responses like this one (via Greg Payne of ESPN Boston via PBT):

"I have been watching film and watching Ray Allen, the way he maneuvers and works off screens," Terry said, noting that one of his goals this offseason has been to become a better jump shooter while curling off of said screens. 

"I believe in [Celtics head coach] Doc [Rivers]' system. He'll have me do some of those things, so curling the three, that's a tough shot, it's off balance. And that's just one that I will add." 

Whether Terry arrived on that subject on his own or was asked about his capacity to "fill in" for Allen more directly isn't clear, but what's obvious is that JET isn't a direct substitute for the latest ex-Celtic.

For one, as Terry mentions, he isn't entirely in practice taking the kinds of shots that became Allen's staple in Boston. The Dallas Mavericks offense featured Terry in a superficially similar role, but changing the angle of the curling routes and the placement of the shots the offense creates is actually a pretty significant change for shooters as meticulous as these.

Allen honed his ability to hit those shots through years of repetition, and while Terry is certainly capable of connecting on similar looks, there's a learning curve in terms of his ability to work the specifics of Boston's offense.

More importantly, Terry and Allen just aren't congruent players. While JET may not be able to match Allen in pure shooting proficiency, he also has a wider applicable range. Terry could very easily be the combo guard that the Celtics have for so long needed, shifting minutes away from Keyon Dooling and relieving Avery Bradley (who's due back midseason) of an ill-fitting responsibility. Although his primary value comes as a scorer, Terry is a much better playmaker than his reputation might suggest—and he's certainly capable enough to fill a role of such glaring need.

The Celtics have been getting by with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett initiating their offense when Rajon Rondo is off the floor, but Terry can now create for them in ways that Allen never could. He'll shift seamlessly between his responsibilities as distributor and shooter, filling out Boston's rotation by working in an ever-valuable dual capacity.

He's not Allen, but that was never exactly the point; Terry is a talent all his own, and though he'll be responsible for replacing some of Allen's production, the qualities that Rivers and the Celtics prize most in Terry's game may yet be those that go beyond the boundaries of their outgoing star.