Ready for takeoff.
The Celtics brass told us that they had no intention of "rebuilding." They wanted to reload. Getting the band back together is nice and all, but it wasn't going to be enough. They needed more help. Jeff Green is one big piece of the puzzle and now another piece appears to have fallen into place.
Barring a shocking turn of events, Jason Terry is going to accept the Celtics MLE offer. So what does this mean to our team? Well, in a word: offense!
Close your eye for a moment and think back to the playoffs when the second unit was on the floor. Even when one or two of the stars was still on the court the offense ground down to a halt. They appeared to be running in quicksand throwing a medicine ball through a dense jungle of vines. It wasn't pretty and it was very ineffective. If the 3 pointers weren't falling then whatever lead they had would start falling.
This team needed scoring and if there's one thing Jason Terry was put on this Earth to do, it is score the basketball. He's not much of a defensive player, but that's what Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo are around for. Terry launches and converts three pointers at an impressive rate. He attempted 365 threes last year, one for every day of the year, and made 138 of them for a .378 average. Not in Ray Allen's class, but well beyond the Pietrus/Dooling territory.
He's more than just a spot up shooter too.
The ability to both shoot with range and create off the dribble when the shot click is ticking down and nothing much is happening is a must-have at this point for Boston’s offense. As brilliant as point guard Rajon Rondo is, teams can still stall out the Celtics for entire possessions by giving him loads of room to shoot and screwing up spacing across the floor. Pierce and Garnett can compensate by working a pick-and-roll or isolating (Pierce on the perimeter, Garnett in the post), but the results aren’t as consistent as they once were, and they’ll only get more inconsistent with age. It’s true that Terry is losing his ideal pick-and-roll partner in Dirk Nowitzki, whose jumper provided Terry with all of those clear driving lanes. But Garnett and Bass, if he’s back, bring nearly the same level of jump shooting for Terry.
So what does this mean to Ray Allen (assuming he returns to Boston)?
On the surface, Terry's arrival seemingly bites into Allen's role. While Terry can handle the ball on the second unit, also providing much-needed relief for point guard Rajon Rondo, there's a line of thinking that suggests he and Allen would be competing for minutes and shots. Ainge said Monday, however, that his goal is to limit the wear and tear on all his veterans -- a group that would include both Terry and Allen -- and Boston is hopeful the overall collection of talent -- along with the ability to offer more money than the rest of the league -- will be enough to attract Allen back for another couple of seasons.
Call me crazy, but I think this move would put Ray Allen back into the starting lineup. The first unit defense would suffer without Avery Bradley in the lineup, but I think they can manage with Rondo and KG holding down the fort. With The Jet coming off the bench to provide scoring (and little defense) it would be nice to balance him with Avery (who can score a little himself - in particular next to a guy that stretches the floor for those backdoor cuts). As a bonus, you could let Bradley and Terry share the ball-handling duties with Rondo on the bench - eliminating the need for a "true" backup point guard.
Regardless of how Doc wants to handle the rotations, it would be a good dilemma to have. The Celtics needed to add scoring to the bench and they did that by adding a perennial 6th man award contestant. Granted, when the season starts he'll be 35 years old and when his contract runs out he'll be pushing 38. But if you are going to go all-in with the old guys, what's another one? Besides, Doc now has another player to add to the rotation that he can trust and ease minutes off of the Big 3.
There are still plenty of other questions to answer: Will Ray Allen be back? Who else will fill out the roster? Can this team compete for a title?
We don't know the answers yet, but we do know one thing. The Celtics (on paper) got better today, and that's about all you could ask for.