Mavs From the Past: Jason Terry

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Jason Terry had an impressive NBA career that spanned almost two decades. He made an impact on the court, whether as a starter or coming off the bench as the team’s sixth man. When Terry’s name is mentioned it is usually connected to his time with the Dallas Mavericks or the Atlanta Hawks.

High School Years

Terry attended Franklin High School in Seattle, Washington, and helped lead the team to back-to-back state championships in 1994 and 1995.

College Years

Terry attended the University of Arizona and played on the men’s basketball team.

He got limited playing time in his first season as a Wildcat, coming off the bench in all 31 games played that year. He managed to put up 3.1 points per game (PPG), 0.7 rebounds per game (RPG), 1.1 assists per game (APG), and 0.6 blocks per game (BPG) in his first year on the team. Arizona went 13-5 in conference games, finished second in the Pac-10, and qualified for the NCAA tournament. They entered the tournament as the No. 3 seed in the West Region and defeated the No. 14 seed, Valparaiso University, in the first round. In the second round of March Madness, the Wildcats took down the No. 6 seed, the University of Iowa. The Wildcats NCAA journey ended in the Sweet 16 round of the tournament, when they lost to the No. 2 seed, the University of Kansas. Arizona finished with an overall season record of 26-7 record.

Terry got many more opportunities as a starter the following year, starting in 18 out of 34 games. All of his numbers rose as he averaged 10.6 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 4.4 APG, and 2.5 SPG for the season. Arizona finished conference play 11-7, finished fifth in the Pac-10, and qualified for March Madness. They entered the tournament as the No. 4 seed in the Southeast Region. In the first round, they took down the No. 13 seed, the University of South Alabama. In the following round, they defeated the No. 12 seed, the College of Charleston. The Wildcats kept surging through the tournament, taking down the No. 1 seed, Kansas, in the Sweet 16 round. In the Elite Eight, they defeated the No. 10 seed, Providence College. Arizona continued to dominate in the Final Four, taking down the No. 1 seed of the East Region, the University of North Carolina. In the Finals, Arizona faced off against the No. 1 seed of the West Region, the University of Kentucky, and defeated them to become NCAA Champions. Arizona finished their championship season, 25-9.

Terry was relegated back to the bench in his junior year, playing in 29 games but starting in none. Even though he didn’t get any starts, his numbers stayed similar to his previous season, averaging 10.6, 2.4 RPG, 4.3 APG, and 1.7 SPG throughout the season. The team went an impressive 17-1 in conference play, finished first in the Pac-10, and qualified for their third consecutive March Madness with Terry on the team. They entered March Madness as the No. 1 seed in the West region, being one of the teams other teams wanted to take down. In the first round of the tournament, they took destroyed the No. 16 seed, Nicholls State University, beating them by 39 points. In the next round, they continued their dominance, defeating the No. 9 seed, Illinois State University, by 33 points. The Wildcats pounced on their next prey, the No. 4 seed, the University of Maryland, beating them by double-digits. Arizona’s reign of dominance came to an end in the Elite Eight, when they lost the No. 3 seed, the University of Utah, by 25 points. The Wildcats finished their dominant season with a 30-5 record. 

Terry had his best collegiate basketball season in his senior year. He became a full-time starter on the team and had his best statistical season in his four years as a Wildcat. He amassed 21.9 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 5.5 APG, and 2.8 SPG while starting in all 29 games throughout the season. Arizona went 13-5 against conference teams, finished second in the Pac-10, and qualified for the NCAA tournament for the fourth straight year. The Wildcats entered March Madness as the No.4 seed in the West but were eliminated in the first round by the No. 13 seed, the University of Oklahoma, in a heated battle that went down to the final shot. The team finished their season 22-7. Terry led the team in scoring, assists, and steals. He was rewarded for his impressive season by being named a consensus first-team All-American. First-team All-Pac-10, and the Pac-10 Player of the Year.

Welcome to the NBA

Terry was drafted 10th overall by the Atlanta Hawks in the 1999 NBA Draft. He spent his first five seasons in Atlanta. He quickly became the Hawks’ starting guard, getting the opportunity to start in 341 out of his 403 games played with the team. He solidified his spot in the league during his time with the Hawks, averaging 16.2 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 5.5 APG, and 1.5 SPG in Atlanta. He was named to the 1999-00 NBA All-Rookie team in his first year in the league. The Hawks missed out on the playoffs in all five of Terry’s years on the team.

Welcome to Dallas

During the 2004 offseason, Terry was traded from the Hawks to the Dallas Mavericks. Dallas is where he got his nickname bestowed upon him, The Jet. His role in Dallas was to help team captain Dirk Nowitzki lead the offense and assist the team in any possible. Terry played his role perfectly, averaging 12.4 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 5.4 APG, and 1.4 SPG, a decline in numbers from his previous years but his stats would soon rise again as he got acclimated to his new team. Terry started in 57 of his 80 games played and led the team in games played in his first year with the Mavs. The Mavericks finished the season 58-24 and clinched the fourth seed in the Western Conference. In the first round of the playoffs, they defeated the Houston Rockets in seven games. In the following round, they faced off against the Phoenix Suns, where they lost the series in six games. In the playoffs, Terry started in every game and improved his shooting from the regular season, putting up 17.5 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 4.6 APG, and 1.3 SPG in the two series.

First Finals Appearance

The following season, Terry improved greatly and his numbers looked similar to how he was doing in Atlanta before the trade. He racked up 17.1 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 3.8 APG, and 1.3 SPG while starting in all 80 of his games played. The Mavericks went 60-22 and again clinched the fourth seed in the West. They swept the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs. In the second round, the Mavs took down their rivals, the San Antonio Spurs, in seven games. Dallas then got their revenge on the Suns in the Western Conference Finals by beating them in six games. For the first time in franchise history, the Mavericks reached the NBA Finals where they faced off against the Miami Heat. Dallas took a 2-0 lead but ultimately lost the series in six games. Terry started in all 22 of his games played and put up 18.9 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 3.8 APG, and 1.2 SPG in the playoffs, playing a big role in the Mavs playoff success. In game 1 of the Finals, he scored 32 points to lead the Mavs to a 2-point victory over the Heat.

Transformation into the Sixth Man of the Year

The Jet continued to be a productive starting guard for the Mavericks throughout the 2006-07 season, starting in all but one of his 81 games played. His production stayed consistent as he amassed 16.7 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 5.2 APG, and 1.0 SPG throughout the season. The Mavericks finished the season as the best team in the league record-wise, going 67-15. The team’s regular season success didn’t transfer over to the playoffs, however, as they went on to lose in the first round to the No. 8 seed, the Golden State Warriors, in six games. The Mavericks made history, becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 8 seed in a seven-game series. Terry started in every game of the series and helped the Mavs by putting up 17.0 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 3.7 APG, and 0.8 SPG in those six games.

The following season Terry was transitioned more into a sixth-man role for the team and became the leader of the second unit. The Jet continued to be very productive while coming off the bench, averaging 15.5 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 3.2 APG, and 1.1 SPG while starting in 34 out of all 82 games he played in. The Mavericks finished the season 51-31, a record good enough to earn them the seventh seed. The Mavericks exited the playoffs in the first round after losing in five games to the New Orleans Hornets. Terry averaged 15.8 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 4.8 APG, and 0.4 SPG in the series.

Sixth Man of the Year

The 2008-09 season was one of Terry’s best seasons in his career and his best one coming off the bench. He got a few starter opportunities, starting in 11 out of 74 games. The Jet put up an impressive 19.6 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 3.4 APG, and 1.3 SPG all while leading the second unit into battle. Dallas went 50-32 for the season and clinched the sixth seed. They defeated the Spurs in five games to advance to the next round of the playoffs. The Mavericks were then eliminated in five games by the Denver Nuggets. Terry started in one of the playoff games and put up 14.3 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 1.9 APG, and 0.6 SPG in those 10 games. He was awarded at the end of the year for his impressive season off the bench, by being named the Sixth Man of the Year.

The Jet followed up on his Sixth Man of the Year season with another good one. He racked up 16.6 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 3.8 APG, and 1.2 SPG while starting in 12 of his 77 games played. The Mavericks also had a good year, going 55-27 and finishing second in the West. Unfortunately, the Mavs didn’t make it far into the playoffs since they were eliminated in the first round by the Spurs. In the series, Terry averaged 12.7 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 2.00 APG, and 0.7 SPG while coming off the bench in all six games.

The Championship Year

The 2010-11 season was a great season for Terry and the whole team. In the regular season, the Jet averaged 15.8 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 4.1 APG, and 1.1 SPG while starting in 10 out of his 82 games played. The Mavericks went 57-25, finishing third in the West. Dallas defeated a young Portland Trailblazers team in six games. The Mavs then swept through the Kobe-led Lakers in the second round. In the Western Conference Finals, the Mavericks defeated the young and talented Oklahoma City Thunder trio consisting of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden, in five games. The Mavericks then had a rematch in the NBA Finals against the Heat, who this time around had their Big 3 consisting of Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. Dallas was seen as the underdog in the fight but they pulled off the series victory when they defeated Miami in six games. The Jet came off the bench in every playoff game but he dominated when he was on the court, racking up 17.5 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 3.2 APG, and 1.2 SPG in the playoffs. His nine 3-pointers in game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals set a record for the most three-pointers made by a reserve in the playoffs. He also scored a game-high 27 points in the series-clinching game 6.

Terry’s Final Year in Dallas

After the exhilarating championship run and outstanding playoff performance, the Jet’s production continued to be an essential part in the team’s success. His numbers stayed fairly similar to the previous year as he put up 15.1 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 3.6 APG, and 1.2 SPG while leading the bench squad in all but one of his 63 games played. Dallas went 36-30 in the shortened NBA season but they still managed to clinch the seventh seed. Unfortunately, the Mavs quickly got swept by the young Thunder team. Terry put up 13.8 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 3.8 APG, and 0.3 SPG while getting the chance to start in one of the four games.

Journey Around the NBA

Terry signed as a free agent with the Boston Celtics during the 2012 offseason. He mainly came off the bench with the Celtics but did get some chances to start in 24 out of his 75 games played with the team. His numbers took a big drop when he joined Boston, in his single season with the team he averaged 10.1 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 2.5 APG, and 0.8 SPG. The Celtics made the playoff as the seventh seed in the East with a 41-40 record but didn’t make it far into the playoffs, losing in six games to the New York Knicks in the first round. Terry started in one of the six games and put up 12.0 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 2.0 APG, and 0.7 SPG in the series.

Terry’s short stint with Boston came to an end during the 2013 offseason when he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets. He spent half a season with the Nets, coming off the bench in all 35 games he played in. His numbers continued to fall as he put up 4.5 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 1.6 APG, and 0.4 SPG in his short time in Brooklyn. He was traded halfway through the season to the Sacramento Kings, however, a knee injury kept him out the rest of the season and he never played a game for the Kings.

Terry then signed as a free agent with the Houston Rockets during the 2014 offseason. He spent two years on the team assisting on the offensive and defensive end coming off the bench. He started in 25 out of his 149 games with the team, becoming a sparkplug off the bench for the Rockets. His numbers improved a bit while in Houston averaging 6.5 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 1.7 APG, and 0.8 SPG SPG in his two years there. The Rockets made it to the playoffs in both of Terry’s years on the team but the furthest they made it was the Western Conference Finals, in his first year there. Terry played in every playoff game while in Houston and even started in all 17 games in their first playoff run with him on the team. In the playoffs, Terry’s numbers improved as he amassed 8.7 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 2.5 APG, and 0.8 SPG in his two years on the team.

Tery’s time in Houston came to an end when he signed with Milwaukee Bucks during the 2016 offseason. He spent two years on the Bucks, continuing to come off the bench and starting in only 4 out of his 125 games with the team. He managed to put up 3.8 PPG, 1.2 RPG, 1.3 APG, and 0.7 SPG, the lowest his numbers have been in his career. He took part in both of the Bucks’ playoff appearances while he was on the team. His numbers in the playoffs weren’t any better than his regular season numbers, as he only managed to rack up 2.3 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 0.8 APG, and 0.4 SPG in nine playoff appearances.

His time in Milwaukee would be Terry’s last time on an NBA team as a player, as he would retire soon after.

Terry played a huge role in the Mavs’ successful seasons from the mid-2000s to the early 2010s. He helped steer the Mavericks in the right direction each season and did whatever was asked of him to ensure a successful season for the team, even taking a bench role and becoming the sparkplug that was needed to keep the offense going when the starters weren’t on the floor. In his eight years in Dallas, he put up 16.1 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 4.1 APG, and 1.2 SPG, won the Sixth Man of the Year award, and helped Dallas win their first NBA Championship.

Front Office and Coaching Career

In September 2019, Terry was named the assistant general manager of the Texas Legends, the Mavericks G League team.

In May 2020, he was named an assistant coach for the Arizona Wildcats men’s basketball team. In his single season as an assistant coach at his alma mater, the team went 11-9 in conference play, finished fifth in the Pac-12, and missed out on the NCAA tournament. They finished the season with an overall winning record of 17-9.

The following season he became the head coach of the Grand Rapids Gold, the Denver Nuggets G League team. They went 17-15 for the season and finished eighth in the Eastern Conference, missing out on the G League playoffs.

In July 2022, Terry was hired as an assistant coach for the Utah Jazz as part of their new head coach, Will Hardy’s coaching staff.

Personal Life

Terry and his wife, Johnyika, have five daughters, Jasionna, Jalayah, Jaida, Jasa, and Jrue.

Terry is one of ten children. His brother, Curtis, also played professional basketball. His cousin, Martell Webster, also played in the NBA

Terry’s No. 31 jersey was retired by his alma maters, Franklin High school, and the University of Arizona.

Legacy

The Jet made a lasting impression in the NBA and improved whichever team he was on, whether it was on the court or in a leadership role. The city of Dallas will always remember the Jet for what he did for the city, helping bring the Mavericks their first championship in franchise history. Terry will be admired and respected by all Mavs fans for life.



Categories: Mavs Fans For Life, Mavs From the Past

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