Posted Sep 19 2010 4:18PM
Mavericks guard Jason Terry plans to recapture glory that's rightfully his. At least that's how he sees it.
"I'm coming back this year for my title," Terry said Saturday from Spain. "It was taken away from me by Jamal Crawford and this year I'm coming back to get it. Sixth Man of the Year is definitely in my future."
The 2009 Sixth Man of the Year is currently in Barcelona taking part in Basketball without Borders, an NBA-sponsored initiative of camps and community outreach programs around the world. Other BWB programs took place in Senegal and Singapore this offseason.
This particular BWB features three Spanish-born players: brothers Pau and Marc Gasol, and Rudy Fernandez. Marcus Camby, Serge Ibaka and Vladimir Radmanovic are also on the trip, along with NBA assistants Ron Adams (Chicago) and Dick Harter (Indiana). They've all attended several NBA Cares programs in Barcelona, including a clinic with the Special Olympics and visits to local hospitals.
"As you know, there are kids in need everywhere," Terry said. "To put a smile on their faces made my trip. I can see the huge difference Basketball without Borders is making. In the community is one thing, on the court is another.
"On the court, these European players are getting better and better. These camps they attend, they're learning the NBA game at an accelerated pace because they're being challenged. Maybe two or three of these campers will play in the NBA one day."
Fifty top European players aged 19 and under are in receiving expert instruction from the NBA contingent. Terry and Adams have focused on working with point guards throughout the four-day camp that concludes Sunday.
"What we're doing is skill work -- a little bit of shooting, a lot of one-the-dribble situations, pick-and-roll, ball-handling, footwork and passing," Terry said. "There's definitely some talent here. The things that have stood out for me are the high skill level and the intensity with which these kids play. They're all kids mature beyond their age and they play like it. They play hard."
Terry, 33, takes pride in his work ethic, durability and production, especially during a strong six-year run in Dallas. Though he's shown little signs of slowing down, questions about Terry's role abound going into the season due to his contract.
A performance clause states that if he plays at least 1,500 minutes this season, the contract's last year (2011-12) is guaranteed for $11.4 million. If not, Terry is only owed $5 million. Reaching 1,500 seems would seem to be easy enough. Only once in his 11-year career has Terry logged even less than 2,000 minutes, and that 1,888 during his rookie year in Atlanta. He's averaged better than 2,500 minutes each year with the Mavs.
But there's a crowded backcourt in Dallas, leading some to speculate that Terry could be squeezed. While Terry can play some point guard behind starter Jason Kidd, he's been most effective at shooting guard in Rick Carlisle's system. That's where it gets murky.
Caron Butler is the incumbent, though he could spend more time sharing the small forward spot with Shawn Marion. The team is high on second-year guard Roddy Beaubois, who will probably begin the season on the inactive list recovering from a broken foot. Promising rookie Dominique Jones and veteran J.J. Barea are also in the mix.
Terry isn't fazed by the prospect of less responsibility. He's still expecting 30-plus minutes per game and crunch-time duties.
"I know that's what my role is and knowing that's my role allowed me to get in great shape for the season ahead," he said. "Guys always talk about how they're going to come back in great shape and they're ready to go and they're hungry. For me it's a reality. This year I put my body through rigorous training with [strength coach] Robert Hackett and you'll see the difference."
Terry admitted his performance last season wasn't up to snuff, specifically in the playoffs. He averaged only 12.7 points and shot 38 percent, and was hardly a factor in a first-round loss to San Antonio.
Terry is demanding more from himself, starting with another run at being the league's premier reserve.
"Hopefully that translates into wins," he said. "That's my goal. My goal is to be the best sixth man off the bench. I've been first once and a close No. 2 last year. I think if I do that then my role doesn't change with this team. In talking to Coach Carlisle, my role is not going to change. As long as he and I are still on the same page, then I'm ready to go."
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