These past few weeks must have been stressful for you Pelicans fans. You must be bowed over, hands on your knees, trying to grasp a breath after the exhausting whirlwind of rumors, excitement, and recent drama swirling around your favorite basketball team.
Pardon the sarcasm; I hope you've been sleeping well.
After many dormant weeks news-wise, maybe it was a relief just to hear the Pelicans linked to somebody, anybody. A sniff of any rumor might have sufficed to elicit this article, but the most recent Pelicans link wasn't just any rumor, it was about Jason Terry.
Make no mistake, Terry would be a big coup for the Pels, even if his talent would be a waning crescent of its former greatness upon his arrival in the Crescent City. And even if Terry's prime is long gone, his voice is just as loud, chiding, and true as ever and he wears his accolades on his sleeve, literally.
While the prime is long gone, the talent is not yet in full remission. Far from it. Terry can still fire away and would be a dependable backup guard. He could be used at the point and shooting positions, and he would not be fazed when starting for an injured guard -- a bonus that would inevitably come in handy for the Pelicans. More importantly, he would totally fill the void left in my basketball heart when SAC snatched Seth.
Guarding Against Injury
Go look at the Pelicans' depth chart. Give it a go.
Now unless I suddenly need glasses, there are three guards on that roster, and one will be used mostly as a small forward (Tyreke Evans). Sound the bell, alert the guards. (Pun intended.)
Two of those guards have serious injury concerns: Eric Gordon had his healthiest season in New Orleans last year while still missing 21 games, and Jrue Holiday's injuries are worth $3 million according to the NBA front office. The other is only nominally a guard.
Now, Norris Cole will most likely return to the Pelicans, summing to an aggregate four guards. That makes three guards that will play guard, two point guards and one shooting guard and no backups for Gordon. Therein lies the problem. The Pelicans obviously need a backup shooting guard, and some more cover at point guard would be nice as well. Luckily, the JET can play both.
His peak years came as a backup shooting guard for the Mavericks, but since leaving Dallas, Terry has had to try his hand at the 1 for the first time since his beginning years. He's a better shooting guard, when he just has to focus on scoring, but a serviceable point and a step up from either Jimmer Fredette or Toney Douglas.
While it seems like the JET is misnamed (First off, he's not. It stands for Jason Eugene Terry, not his speed), Terry's career was revived last year with the Houston Rockets, a team that finished second in pace.
Age has slowed him down some, but Terry has always played in offense-first systems and has always thrived in them. He is deft at leaking out in the fast break, trailing the play to find a perimeter opening. He knows no other way.
Terry's fast-break finishes consist of regular threes, some layups, and the rare one-handed rim-grazer. Don't expect any arguments from him either about Alvin Gentry's "shoot-fast, shoot-first" mentality; Terry has the same philosophy. Even with the lost step, Terry can still put the wings down after a fast-break three.
Folks, that stroke isn't going anywhere.
Terry would give the Pelicans more shooting off the bench, a want that is never in surplus. The Pelicans hoped Fredette would be a perennial perimeter threat off the pine, but he wasn't, and Ryan Anderson suffered.
Terry is, being a career 38% three-point shooter who shot 39% last year. By the way, he is third in NBA history in three-point field goals, with 2076.
Meanwhile, the floor-spacing Terry could bring means that if the Warriors tried to double Anderson or any other bench player, they'd be in trouble. Pure shooters open up the floor for everyone else, and Ryno would be reaping the rewards if Terry is added. Anderson would love having another shot-taker to take slacken the weight on his back.
The above jumble of words just means that Terry is a leader. He's got a ring on his finger, the Larry O'Brien trophy inked on his bicep, and a book's worth of memorable quotes.
The competitiveness, determination, and toughness of Terry were proven in the 2011 Finals when he responded to the criticism of teammates and coaches with:
"We're going to see if he (Lebron James) can do it (guard me) for seven games."
Is that prescient or inaccurate? That series only went to six but sure enough, the dagger shot was Terry rising over The King to hit a deep three. Either way, that cockiness and assuredness payed off.
The Pelicans' lack of leadership was very visible in last year's playoffs. It's a gap that they've tried to mend with the addition of Kendrick Perkins and the hopeful return of Cole, who's playoff experience was unmistakable, but still more is needed.
New Orleans lacked chippiness and resoluteness when it came to stating their presence and arrival in the playoffs. If there's one thing we've learned, it's that the name "Pelicans" doesn't necessarily inspire fear.
Teams that are truly unified stand up for each other, and teams that win championships have that bond. The Pelicans would have eventually developed that connection, but vocal mentors and leaders like Terry can hasten that process.
And while a 6'2, skinny guard might not be over-intimidating, Terry has never backed down to anybody. He and Kendrick could instill that mindset to everybody on the team and do so in a very entertaining way. Jason Terry would be an excellent addition to the Pelicans, not only for his shooting touch and role, but for his assistance in transitioning this roster from 'Next' to 'Now' through teaching the tricks of the trade.
With all that being said about leadership and a championship-mentality being the biggest perks, Terry's still a productive player. He averaged 7 ppg and 2 apg last year and started throughout the playoffs. Knowing the Pelicans' proclivity for injuries, they could use a backup like that.
It was reported Terry found the Rockets offer insufficient. The Pelicans not only can offer him more money and years but playing time too, seeing as how Houston just landed Ty Lawson.
If Terry did decide to come to New Orleans, the roster would be so close to finished; thus, the Pelicans' blueprint for the rest of the offseason is simple: get the JET and Cole. Then it's takeoff time.