There is no question that the Nets have a lot of depth this season. Andrei Kirilenko and Andray Blatche lead the self-named "Bench Mob" along with another newcomer, Jason Terry.
Terry is coming off his worst scoring season since his rookie campaign in 1999, although his major statistical categories were in line with his last two seasons in Dallas and his career numbers. Mostly the dropoff had to do with his minutes, which were reduced. Still, many are questioning how much the 35-year-old known as JET has left in the tank following his sub-par season. Jeff Clark, of CelticsBlog, believes that it was more the team rather than the Jet. He writes:
"I think part of the problem was the system. He was never supposed to be a Ray Allen replacement (he was signed before Ray left and the Celtics envisioned them playing together) but that's essentially what he became. He had to learn how to run through screens and catch and shoot like Ray did for years in Boston. The transition was hard for him and I think he lost some confidence."
Could this be true? It very well could be. Terry started more games this past season than he has since 2006; he also had to take on the duties of point guard at times for the injured Rajon Rondo, something he isn't accustomed to. "Terry could play some backup point guard in a pinch, but it isn't the best way to utilize his talents. The Celtics asked him to play that role too much early in the year and it distracted him and got him off his rhythm," Clark said.
Rebecca Lawson of Mavs Moneyball added to the fact that Terry is not a creator, "It's one thing to be asked to come in and hit shots, particularly ones that are set up by more talented teammates. It's another to come in and create that offense." Lawson believes that in the Nets' system, Terry will not have that issue, for he is not a primary producer. "That's why him as the 8th or 9th man is a better role for him at this point in his career," Lawson said.
Terry isn't replacing anybody in Brooklyn, only adding to their squad. Like Lawson said, Terry isn't fit to create for others, but to have others create for him. With Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce likely handling the ball when he is in the game, Terry could return to his spot-up shooting habits.
As Ben Couch notes in his Shot Chart feature Wednesday, Terry posted some impressing shooting numbers despite his supposedly down year in Boston.
His stint's success was weighted early – .442 pre-All Star; .415 post – and late – a postseason line of 12.0 points on .441 three-point shooting and .444 overall.
Terry is known for his shooting, and knocked down an impressive 48.5 percent of his mid-range attempts, 8.4 percent better than league average. Overall, his best zone was the far left baseline (19-28 FGs; .679 FG%; +27.0% vs. average) and his worst, straightaway three-pointers (9-35; .257; -8.6%). He is more than 10 percent above average on left wing and right corner threes.
In a reduced role, Terry could get back to his Dallas ways. For a player that is bound to play no more than 25-30 minutes a game, I think he has plenty left in him. He will find himself on a better team than the Celtic squad he was a part of last year, a team that resembles the Maverick team he was on.
Speaking of Dallas, in 2009, Terry was the Sixth Man of the Year for the Mavs, the best statistical season of his career. He posted averages of 19.6 points per game, 3 assists and a 36% shooting percentage from beyond the arc. That season, Terry had Jason Kidd running the point and Terry spotting up and picking holes through the opposing defense. What better way to get Terry back to his top level of play than have the man who found him night in and night out coach him?
In an interview with Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com, Terry spoke about how much Kidd will be able to coach him after their experience in Dallas. Mazzeo writes, "We were in about a two-hour film session in the playoffs (in 2011) in Portland and we couldn't figure out one coverage in the zone...Kidd was finally like 'We're going to figure it out Let me handle it...That game we used a zone and ended up winning and that was an example right there that he was a coach and ready for the moment," Terry said to Mazzeo.
Kidd is well aware of how JET plays and what he is capable on the court. With plenty of ways for him to fit Terry into the Nets' system, expect Kidd to lean on Terry early in the year.
Terry is an average, middle-of-the-road NBA role player. There's nothing wrong with that considering he is one of the best at coming off the bench and being ready to play. Terry does turn his game up towards the end of it, though. He is known to step up late in games and hit the clutch shot. "After a year of struggling as a Celtic, he picked the playoffs to shine the brightest. One game he single-handedly sent the game to overtime and helped win. He was clutch when we needed him," Clark said. The Nets do have their fair share of closers in the fold, Johnson, Pierce and Williams to name some, but you can never have enough guys who can hit the big shot late.
One of the reason that I find myself still believing in Terry as a serious ball player is his leadership qualities. In most cases, the best players on the team lead, but Terry is a different story. He leads from the sidelines and his confidence is known to be "infectious," writes Andrew Tobolowsky of Mavs Moneyball. Whether he is playing fine or poor, Terry is always there to help his teammates and push them through ball games.
Despite the fact that he will be 36 by the time the season starts, Terry has only missed 11 games in 4 years! He has proven that durability isn't an issue, and that he can show up to play every single game.
Bottom line, Terry is an enigma—no one knows if he is going to play good or bad or if he has a seasons' worth of quality basketball left in him. One thing is for sure, though, Terry is going to leave his heart out on the herringbone floor and wherever the Nets take him. If he does that, one can't ask for much more.
Jason Terry's 2012-13 Shot Charts - Ben Couch - Brooklyn Nets