When the Boston Celtics signed Jason Terry over the summer and Ray Allen departed shortly thereafter, many expected Terry to be the guy who replaced Allen's role on the team. What those people neglected to realize is that Terry and Allen are two completely different players.
Allen is one of those unique kind of players where the primary plays you run for him are behind the three-point line. Celtics fans are (well, should be) extremely familiar with the misdirection play, a set designed to run Allen off of screens in the hope of getting him a good look from long range. That can be seen in the video below.
Boston would also run sets where it would run Allen off of down screens to free him up for an open trey. This was very successful for the C's during Allen's first four seasons there. In Ray's fifth year as a Celtic, however, ankle problems limited the three-point king's mobility, resulting in a lot of wasted possessions waiting for Allen to get open by running his defenders through picks.
Allen's contributions were invaluable to the Celtics for most of his time in green, but in his final season, it became a case of Rajon Rondo frequently draining the shot clock by dribbling the air out of the ball at the top of the key while Allen unsuccessfully attempted to get free. Because of this, Boston's offense was very prone to droughts last year. When one of your primary weapons cannot utilize his best attribute, droughts tend to occur.
Now, Ray is gone, and The Jet has arrived. Does Terry have a propensity for hitting big shots like Allen? Yes. Is he a reliable three-point shooter as well? Definitely.
Still, Jason Terry is not Ray Allen. He is not the type of player who needs screens to get a shot off. He can create it on his own, and we have already seen his patented off-the-dribble corner jumper many a time this season. Terry is also someone who is healthy enough to get to the basket, unlike Allen who just does not have the legs to do that consistently anymore.
So if you are looking for Terry to replace Allen's role, stop, because it is not going to happen. His role within the offense is different. Unlike Ray, Terry actually brings the ball up the floor at certain points in the game. He does not have to stand in the corner and wait for a big to set a down screen. Although we have seen Doc Rivers run that type of set with him, it is not the primary way Jet can have an impact offensively.
As you can see in the video below, Terry is more than capable of using his quickness and craftiness to get himself a good look all on his own.
Here, Terry is able to get open by moving around by himself and finding the right spot on the floor. That wasn't something you saw Allen do very often. In that situation, you'd likely see Kevin Garnett come up and set a screen to get Ray a good shot. That isn't necessary for Terry.
What puzzles me is why Rivers hasn't allowed Terry to thoroughly play his game yet. Terry is playing well, shooting a solid 45 percent from the floor and hitting on 38 percent of his three-point attempts. However, he has not really gotten into any kind of regular rhythm yet, and Doc's coaching has something to do with that. It seems as if even Rivers forgets at times that The Jet is not Allen, as too often we have seen him going through the same sets for Terry as he did for Ray.
Terry doesn't need that, and the sooner Doc realizes that, the better.
If you just let Terry play the way he wants, he is going to be a huge contributor and a vital piece to a potential playoff run. Just look at what he did during his time with the Dallas Mavericks. He hit just as many big shots as Dirk Nowitzki did during his time with there, so he has a track record.
Late in the game when the Celtics need a bucket, Rivers needs to stop going with Paul Pierce isolations (or, even worse, Rondo jump shots). He needs to either get the ball inside to Garnett or get Terry a shot.
Terry is crucial to Boston's chances this season, and if and when Doc starts utilizing him correctly, the C's will become that much better.