Friday, September 7, 2012
Over/Under: Jason Terry
By Chris Forsberg
AP Photo/Mike FuentesEach weekday for a three-week span, ESPN Boston colleague Greg Payne and I are playing a game of over/under while trying to predict the potential production for a Celtics player during the 2012-13 campaign. Today's target: veteran shooting guard Jason Terry, who signed a three-year deal at the full value of the mid-level exception this offseason.
Will the JET have a soft landing in Boston during the 2012-13 campaign?
Points per game: 15
* Forsberg: Under. It feels like you have to go back to the days when the Celtics were bringing Kevin McHale off the bench in the early 80's to find a Boston reserve who put up double-digit offense (Glen Davis actually averaged 11.7 points per game in the 2010-11 campaign while playing starter-caliber minutes). But a no-conscience scorer is something Boston has desperately lacked off the pine during the Kevin Garnett era. Terry will provide it, but we'll pencil him in at just south of 15 points per game due to Boston's potential for balanced output. That said, only once since his rookie season has Terry averaged less than 15.1 points per game.
* Payne: Over. The Celtics didn't bring Terry in to play lockdown defense on Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant. Terry's here to score the ball and Doc Rivers shouldn't try to dispel that in any way. Terry won't hesitate to pull the trigger, and as a result, he'll emerge as the most consistent form of offense for the second unit. He'll compete with Rajon Rondo for the team's second-leading team scorer behind Paul Pierce.
Assists per game: 4
* Forsberg: Over. Any scoring dip will have an inverse effect on Terry's distribution numbers. He's averaged 4.7 per game for his career with that number hanging a bit below 4 per game in three of his last four seasons. But again, the overall collection of talent and a balanced team output could push his assists number higher in Boston -- particularly if called upon to shoulder a large load as backup ball-handler behind Rondo.
* Payne: Under. Four is a good benchmark for this category, since Terry's final assist number should hover in the vicinity. I'll take the under, as Terry's averaged over four assists just once in the past five seasons. His overall playmaking ability is arguably better suited for himself than it is for others (he won't create the way Rondo does), so somewhere in the 3-4 assists per game range seems more realistic.
3-point percentage: 38
* Forsberg: Over. Sure, it's been five years since he's reached this mark (his career average). But Terry was banging on the door last season (shooting 37.8 percent overall). Put him on the floor with Courtney Lee or other floor spacers and there's going to be a lot of quality looks at the rim. That's enough to bump him back over our projected number.
* Payne: Under. Terry hasn't shot 38 percent from 3-point nation since the 2006-2007 season, hovering just under that figure ever since. He could see a bump in his percentage (similar to Paul Pierce during the 2009-2010 season), but it's safer to say his numbers will fall in line with those of recent seasons.
Sixth Man of the Year points: 200
* Forsberg: Over. For reference, hop HERE to check out last year's voting. Terry finished third with 81 points, while Lou Williams was second at 231 points. If he produces the way he did in Dallas and proves to be the missing piece for Boston, then Terry will easily be in contention for this award and should see his voting point total easily eclipse that level.
* Payne: Over. James Harden's still the frontrunner for this award, but Terry's always in the conversation. Williams nabbed second place last season, but his move to Atlanta could impact his role and production. Add in Boston emerging as a genuine force in the Eastern Conference and Terry should get plenty of recognition for what should be some quality work off the bench.