Why Jason Terry Will Never Be Ray Allen for Boston Celtics

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Why Jason Terry Will Never Be Ray Allen for Boston Celtics
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Terry is not Ray Allen, nor will he ever be.

When the Boston Celtics inked Terry to a three-year deal over the summer, the hope was that he could fill the three-point shooting and general offensive void left by Allen.

Or was it?

Some fail to remember that even after Terry agreed to come to Beantown, the Celtics still attempted to retain Allen, who ultimately spurned them in favor of the Miami Heat

Some would consider this Boston's aggressive attempt to stockpile as many offensive weapons as possible, and to an extent, it was. Mostly, though, the Celtics knew what they had in Allen—the greatest three-point shooter in the history of the NBA

And so much more.

Allen wasn't just someone who scored 14.2 points per game and shot 45.3 percent from beyond the arc for the Celtics in 2011-12, he was someone who they could depend on to hit the big shot, to succeed in whatever position he was put in.

During his last season in Boston, Allen averaged 22.4 points and posted an effective field-goal percentage of 60.7 in the "clutch." He also snagged himself 4.7 win shares in just 46 games of action.

By comparison, Terry proved equally vital in his role with the Dallas Mavericks. He averaged 34.8 points and posted an effective field-goal percentage of 60.3 in the clutch for Dallas. 

Such stats would suggest that he easily outperformed Allen with the game on the line, that he meant more to the Mavericks than Allen did to the Celtics. That suggestion, though, is utterly false.

Terry finished 2011-12 with 3.8 win shares in 63 games. 

Meaning?

In 17 more games, he accounted for nearly a win less than Allen.

For those wondering if that matters, the answer is yes.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Terry isn't as clutch as Allen.
Terry was of obvious importance to Dallas with the game on the line. He was a lights-out shooter from behind the arc and one of the few guys in the league you actually want pulling up for a three in transition.

That said, his impact on the "big picture" just wasn't as, well, big. And it has been even smaller since moving to Boston.

Unlike Allen, his transition has been anything but seamless.

Not only is Terry averaging 12.7 points per 36 minutes (second-lowest mark of his career), but he's struggling to hit big shots down the stretch. Currently, he's averaging just 11.6 points and posting an effective field-goal percentage of 31.6 per 48 minutes in the clutch, a far cry from the gaudy totals he put up last year.

Allen has had no such troubles. He's scoring 16 points per 36 minutes and shooting 44.3 percent from beyond the arc. He's also averaging 24.5 points per 48 minutes of clutch action while posting an effective field-goal percentage of 58.7.

And that's what Boston misses—that player outside of Paul Pierce who can deliver when it's needed most, however it's needed.

Terry hasn't done for Boston what Allen has for Miami.
Originally, Terry was going to be tasked with adding to Boston's "clutch" arsenal. Upon Allen's departure, he was immediately expected to replace what was lost. But he hasn't. And he won't.

Why?

Because, as John Rohrbrach of WEEI.com notes, he can't be to the Celtics what Allen was:

Where did that Jason Terry go? And, more importantly, can the woeful Celtics offense find him before the first -- and most important -- season of his three-year, $15 million contract comes to a close?

"It takes time," said Knicks point guard Jason Kidd, Terry's backcourt mate for four-plus seasons in Dallas. "He's in a new system, and a lot of things aren't run for him like they were in Dallas, so he's just making that adjustment. He's a professional, he's good at what he does, and so it's just a matter of time before he starts making every shot."

Bradley's return and Courtney Lee's struggles were supposed to finally carve out a familiar role for Terry, but it's been just the opposite since his move to the bench. It's hard to find a worse three-game stretch over Terry's career than his past three outings (10 points, 4-14 FG), so Celtics coach Doc Rivers has turned to Lee's defense and Leandro Barbosa's explosive offense to fill the void left by Terry's anemic performance.

Boston isn't Dallas, and Terry isn't Allen. And that's the problem.

Per hoopdata.com, 43.9 percent of Terry's field-goal attempts came from beyond the arc with the Mavericks last season. Of all his converted shot attempts, less than 50 percent were assisted by a teammate.

It hasn't been like that for Terry in Boston. At all.

Terry is attempting nearly five shots fewer per game with the Celtics and more than 50 percent of them are coming from behind the rainbow. And in Boston, 79.1 percent of his made field goals are assisted by a teammate.

For Terry, that's a problem.

Terry isn't served best as merely a spot-up shooter.
You see, the Mavericks weren't a team being run by a ball-dominating point guard. When on the floor, Terry was allowed to create for himself alongside Jason Kidd. That's simply not an option next to Rajon Rondo.

Boston's floor general assists on more than 50 percent of his team's field goals. Kidd had a hand in just 28.4 percent of his team's field goals in Dallas last season.

Remember, this was one of Allen's biggest qualms about Boston. He was primarily being used as a spot-up shooter himself. Of all baskets he made last season, 77.9 percent of them came off assists. He was not afforded the luxury of creating for himself either, yet he still succeeded.

Why?

Because for Allen, it's just that—a luxury. For Terry, it's a necessity.

Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Allen was a better fit for Boston than Terry ever will be.
Terry is at his best when he's able to create his own space in addition to being used as a spot-up shooter. More than halfway through the season, it's become abundantly clear he's not going to be given the freedom he needs to score.

Who is better suited for Boston's style of play?

Submit Vote vote to see results
His 1.9 win shares pale in comparison to Allen's 3.1. And this is an Allen who is the fourth offensive option on a team that boasts LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, mind you. His ability to make such a sizable impact on a team crammed with as much talent as Miami is simply incredible.

It's also a testament to how far outside of his comfort zone Terry is operating. 

A comfort zone that has nothing to do with when or where he's used, but how he's used. One he'll never be allowed to re-enter next to a point guard who can't play off the ball.

And one that guarantees he'll never mean half as much to the Celtics as Allen ever did.

 

*All stats used in this article were compiled from Basketball-Reference, Synergy Sports and 82games.com unless otherwise noted.

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