I love Jason Terry. I've shared my excitement for his signing numerous times on this blog. Yet for the past 3 games, former 6th man of the year hasn't been able to live up to the hype, which is perfectly in line with the team's story overall. Of course the Celtics are going to solve their problems and get better as they find chemistry/identity/Ubuntu/hyena spirit, but I'd like to focus specifically on Terry's issues in this post.
1.Terry is shooting badly: This is quite straightforward: His shots aren't dropping. In fact, his eFG% (that accounts for the fact that 3pts are worth more than 2pts) is at a career low for the first 3 games. The last time Terry had such a 3pt drought (where he shot with such low percentage and at least took the same amount of shots on average) was in January 2012 and lasted for 4 games, so things should return to normal levels soon, hopefully.
Another reason Terry's shots hasn't been falling is that he's been taking forced shots (I couldn't watch the Wizards game, but that was the story in the first 2 games), which brings up the next point.
2. Terry is still adapting to a new offensive system: This was the theme of a recent Sherrod Blakely article, in which Terry clearly stated that he comes from a system where the majority of the time, the ball-handler was to get the guy setting the pick the ball whereas in Boston these guys are trying to get the ball-handler open and get him opportunities and then it frees up other guys.
It’ll take time for Terry to get used to the system, but meanwhile there’s a silver lining here: If Bass goes to the bench, Terry will have an opportunity to play the pick-and-pop game like he used to with Nowitzki. Of course I’m not comparing Bass to Nowitzki, but Bass is our best pick-and-pop player and Terry and Bass have played before, so I think that could be beneficial during the adaptation process.
3. Terry is turning the ball over too much: So all the stats we look at have a really small sample size, yet sometimes the difference is so significant that small sample size can mean something. In Terry’s case, his TOV% has doubled (22.3) compared to what it was during his spell with the Mavs. The last streak of his where he turned the ball over at least 3 times was in January 2008 and lasted for 3 games, yet during the first 3 games his TOV average was 3.8.
The reason for this is his trying to adapt to a new system. When you have a clear direction for your signature pick move, it is easy. When you try to find more guys after picks, things get tough. That issue will be sorted out soon.
4. Celtics’ complex defensive system: In all fairness, Terry’s steals and defensive ratings are on the same level with his career averages, yet that individual effort might get lost in the collective rumble that is C’s D. Terry himself stated after the Heat game that the lack of aggression on D translated into bad O. In addition to that, Celtics haven’t been able to make use of TOs as they hoped so far, which is one of Jet’s strengths.
Overall, I’m confident that Terry’s offensive performance will improve in a few games. Yet in my opinion, these are the things to keep in mind when trying to judge his showing on court.
"It's a work in progress. I'm going to stay optimistic. I'm a scorer; I'll figure it out," Terry said. "Believe me when I tell you, I will continue to shoot the ball. I will take advantage of every opportunity."