Houston’s disastrous season continued when they agreed to buy-out point guard Ty Lawson last week, and by doing so conceded defeat on their now failed experiment. Lawson had a poor year and the Rockets really had no other choice, but this has now placed increased importance on the play of 38-year old veteran guard Jason Terry. As the veterans playing career is obviously close to drawing its curtains, we take a look at how to get the most out of Terry as he looks to add to his 2144 made 3’s.
Jason Terry has two major contributions to this team, both as veteran presence in the locker room and as a lethal knockdown shooter from beyond the arc. Jason currently sits at #3 on the all-time list for made three-pointers so he definitely knows how to put the ball in the basket, but the main issue is his legs. The man is 38 and has been in the league since he was drafted #10 in the 1999 draft, which means it’s a lot of miles clocked up by the JET and obviously he’s not able to play 30 minutes a night at this stage of his career.
So with the physical restrictions of his body and the impending arrival of guard Andrew Goudelock, it’s important to play Terry in situations where he is most effective and finding the right matchups for him where he won’t get exposed on defense.
Space City Scoop
Terry was a very good 3-point shooter for the Rockets last season, shooting at a 39% clip from beyond the arc on just above four three-point attempts per game. This season has been a different story for the JET as the team has struggled and is failing to generate the same wide open looks that they did last season, resulting in him shooting 35% from three this season. Yes, his numbers are down but it is undeniable that he is a go-to guy down the stretch for the Rockets and has been one of our most consistent performers in the second half of games no matter what the score is.
This season, Jason Terry leads the Rockets in plus-minus in the second half, with the Rockets being on average 2.6 points per game better off when he is on the floor than when he is not. Pretty key indicator, especially since in the first half of games this season he is a -2.4 per game. This isn’t enough though as Terry plays pretty similar minutes throughout the game averaging 8.4 minutes in the first half and 10.8 minutes in the second half, so obviously there is something we’re missing? Nope. His shooting strip is 45/42/82 in the second half of games whilst it’s a miserly 36/27/83 in the first half. GM Daryl Morey is a an analytics buff, so it’s dumbfounding that Terry isn’t utilized in the second half as he is the Rocket’s most effective player in that situation.
Now obviously it’s not possible to just play Terry for the final 24 minutes of the game, especially with the lack of depth in the guard position on this roster. When Goudelock suits up it will make it possible to reduce Terry’s minutes, especially in the first half where he is least effective. Terry needs to be utilized more in the second half of games where he can make his biggest impact and also a chance to give James Harden and Patrick Beverley some rest down the stretch without a 4th quarter lead dwindling away, which has been a major issue with the bench so far.
Next: Are Terry's Contributions Tangible?