At 37 years old, Jason Terry is clearly past his prime as a NBA player and just is not the sharpshooter or offensive presence he used to be. That became apparent in his lone season (more like half a season) with the Nets, where he ended up in the trade from the Celtics that also sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn.
He was then traded at the trade deadline along with Reggie Evans to the Sacramento Kings for Marcus Thornton (who is now on the Celtics in a roundabout way). Terry never actually played for the Kings and basically went home to rest for the second half of the season.
This summer, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey swung a trade involving some second-round draft picks and expiring contracts to bring Terry to Houston as a scoring option off the bench. At the time, most people ignored the move, because of Terry’s extremely poor play in 35 games with the Nets — a .362/.379/.667 slashline with the worst numbers of his career — and his advanced age.
To the surprise of many, and possibly Morey, Terry has rebounded extremely well with his new team and has proven to be a key reserve for coach Kevin McHale to use. He has played in all 17 of Houston’s games so far — the Rockets are 13-4 — and has scored 7.6 points in his 22.3 minutes.
How well is he shooting? His .411/.408/.909 slashline is back toward his normal standards and includes his best three-point efficiency since the 2006-07 season with Dallas.
Obviously, Terry is not the 15-to-20 point-per-game scorer he was in his prime with the Hawks and Mavericks but he is being valuable in the playing time given to him. When the Rockets are going through a rare scoring slump, they can just put Terry in the game for a few quick buckets. That isthe role the Nets envisioned for him but he did not make enough shots to be useful.
Regular season aside, Terry is probably going to be a big player for Houston come playoff time. Throughout his career, he has been a roughly 40 percent shooter from three in the postseason, a mark which is pretty amazing considering how important threes are at that point of the season.
As Terry said to the Houston Chronicle after scoring a season-high 18 points in a recent win: “The Jet’s still got some fuel in the tank.”
Apparently, Terry still has some value in this league and no team is happier about it than the Rockets and no person more than Morey, who picked the Arizona product off the proverbial scrap heap. Houston is reaping the benefits.