A few things are synonymous with the Boston Celtics, at least in the Big Three era. For starters, they've been a pretty good basketball team. Of course, they have their bad sides, too. Offensive rebounding? Forget about it. High octane, run-and-gun offense? Yeah right.
There's the lack bench production, too. At times, the bench has been laughable, if not putrid.
Well, there's some good news in that category. Jason Terry is here, and he's here to help.
Terry is reportedly headed to Boston on a three-year deal for the full mid-level exception (roughly $5 million per season), and while the deal isn't official yet -- free agents can't officially sign with teams until July 11 -- a handful of reports have confirmed that the two sides have locked down a deal. In short, Terry is pretty much a Celtic.
He isn't just another Celtic, either. He's a proud Celtic. Perhaps even Mickael Pietrus proud.
"I just love that they have a championship pedigree,'' Terry, who plays both guard spots coming off the bench, said of why he chose the Celtics. "And I think their point guard (Rajon Rondo) is the best in the business at controlling both ends of the floor. And they've got Hall of Famers.'' (via Fox Sports Florida)
What exactly are the Celtics getting in Terry? Let Alan Smithee of Mavs Moneyball sum it up.
"Passion, enthusiasm, and entertainment," Smithee said. "And some clutch shots."
So, he's passionate, enthusiastic and entertaining. Thankfully, there's more to Terry than just that.
Terry addresses one of the Celtics' biggest areas of need: the bench scoring. Boston's reserves were next to last in the league in scoring, averaging 21.4 points in 86 games. That's not good.
Fortunately, Terry will help in that department. Actually, he almost contributed what the Celtics bench did last year all by himself, averaging 15.1 points in 63 games with the Dallas Mavericks, the team he has played for since the 2004-05 season. Only once last season did he start.
Terry's main contribution is scoring, which we have established as a major need. But what about that key quality to all of Doc Rivers' teams in Boston: defense? Terry brings a little bit of that, too.
"Most of Terry's defensive value comes from his speed and quick hands," Smithee said. "He's adept at anticipating plays and intercepting passes, and the Mavs' zone defense allowed him cover an area instead of a man. Unfortunately, that also led to plays where Terry would be watching the ball and not its intended target, and would allow backdoor plays or open threes."
Unfortunately for Terry, the Celtics don't run much zone defense. It's mostly man-to-man.
"On man defense, Dallas often had the two Jasons, Kidd and Terry, switch assignments, with Terry covering the quicker point guard and Kidd taking the bigger off-guard," said Smithee. "I don't know if Boston will intend to use Terry with [Rajon] Rondo or [Avery] Bradley as his backcourt mate, but I wonder about the fit with the former. The JET is also owns one of the league's worst rebound rate. His defense is something you live with because of how good he can be when he's in a shooting groove. Each of the last four years, Dallas defender better with Terry off the court."
OK, so Terry isn't a great defender, and he definitely isn't a good rebounder. Well, then...
That's alright, though. Just as Smithee said, you take the bad with the good, and the good is the scoring. Terry has averaged double-digit points in every season except his rookie campaign. He's been in the league 13 years. Terry has never topped a 20-point average, but came close on three occasions -- twice early on in his career with the Atlanta Hawks and once with the Mavericks.
Terry's production has waned in the last few seasons, going from a 19.6-point average in the 2008-09 season to 16.6 points in 2009-10 and 15.8 points in 2010-11. With the dip in scoring has come a dip in shooting percentage, naturally. Sure, it's a cause for concern. Some, but not a lot.
"His true-shooting percentage has declined in each of the last six seasons, like clockwork: from 58% in '06-'07 to 54% last year," Smithee said. "The reason is probably simply that as he's aged he's been less able to beat his man to the basket, where higher percentage shots dwell. That being said, the staple of his game is the midrange jumper, and when he has his man in space and can go right, it's the perimeter version of Kevin McHale's torture chamber; he has a variety of hesitation moves and can pull-up and shoot on a dime. As a spot-up shooter he's not quite Ray Allen but he should be more than capable of making the many open looks he should get."
Ah, now that brings us to Allen. As you probably know by now, there's a chance Allen might be leaving town to play with ... well, basketball's version of the evil empire. Boston could, and is aggressively trying to, sign both Terry and Allen, and that would give them a double dose of bench scoring, with Avery Bradley likely taking over the starting shooting guard job upon his return.
Alright, back to Terry. He can shoot and score, so he'll fit right in with the needs of this Celtics team. There's another thing that makes him a perfect Celtic: his will to win and his confidence.
"He's a fiery competitor, much like [Kevin] Garnett," notes Smithee. "He is not short on confidence, and he's hit big shots in championship-clinching games. He's also old. So, he sounds like a Celtic already. As long as the occasional mental lapse is tolerated, he should fit in just fine. No Maverick in my memory would interact with the crowd to the degree he did, so I imagine the Boston faithful will love him and his antics."
Sign me up. Remember, we'll take the good stuff with the occasional bad, and everything should be fine. Given the big hole on the bench last year, Terry's addition is a very, very welcomed one.
"He hit what may have been the biggest shot in Mavs history, a late on the clock three that buried the Heat in Game 5 [of the 2011 NBA Finals]" said Smithee. "He also once celebrated prematurely after missing a pair of late game free throws because he didn't know the score and assumed the Rockets couldn't tie. These two events encapsulate what it is to watch him on a regular basis."
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