Moving to Boston wasn’t presumed to mean much else for Jason Terry besides a change in the weather and the color of his uniform but his versatility may land him once again in a starting role or serving as a playmaker. None of it is written in stone.
The Celtics recently added Leandro Barbosa and Doc Rivers stated, “I love his speed, his ability to handle the ball. We don’t have a backup point (guard), but we have another ball handler. Our theory is if we throw three ball handlers out on the floor, someone can bring the ball up — and that’s the way we’ll play with our second unit.”
The ball handlers include Barbosa, Courtney Lee, Avery Bradley and of course Terry, who spent significant time as a playmaker in Dallas and as a part of this group can make a good case that the Celtics will be better than they were before losing Ray Allen. Not a drastically different situation to Dallas, where even if Rick Carlisle is faced with losing Delonte West, there is slew of combo guards available who can handle the ball.
The Jet, a perennial contender for the NBA’s best sixth man, is also being considered as a starter. Rivers started Terry during the second game of the EuroTrip and has been experimenting with him in the starting lineup during practices, too. Terry’s has made his mark and won a Championship as an elite sixth man but obviously and as Kevin Garnett told ESPN Boston Terry’s skills can also help the starting lineup.
“It makes us that [much] more versatile,” Garnett said of making Terry a starter. “You have another shooter on the floor, another scorer, another veteran, knows how to play the game. Another ball handler for Rondo, take Rondo off the ball. Doc has a lot of options in which he’s been playing with them a lot in practice.”
The Jet has expressed he is happy to contribute in whatever way works best
“Obviously I’m able to come off the bench and do what I do because I’m always ready. I’m always ready to score the ball and make an impact in the ballgame. As a starter, I was a starter for four years in Atlanta and three in Dallas, so either way it goes for me, it doesn’t matter. When the lights are on, when the crowd is cheering, or when they’re going against us, is when I’m at my best. So, it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s game time.”
There are obviously those who might not only argue “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” but have much greater hyperbolic worries about what terrible things might happen if Terry starts. I find these about as salient as the argument that name-your-political candidate is going to destroy the country.
The truth is that Doc Rivers has the luxury of a lot of options and that’s terrific for the Celtics. The Jet has left Big D but Roddy B, O. J. Mayo, Vince Carter, Dominique Jones and Jared Cunningham are still in town. Let’s hope Rick Carlisle finds the right formula.