Celtics.com Awards Series

MVP Most Improved Sixth Man Offensive POY Defensive POY Unsung Hero Game of the Year
Paul Pierce Jeff Green Jason Terry --- --- --- ---

Although Boston’s 2012-13 season wasn’t championship caliber, several players delivered strong campaigns during the Celtics’ 81-game regular season and their six-game postseason. As the spring rolls on, we will dole out our Celtics.com Award Series, which consists of seven different awards. These seven awards will be handed out one-by-one, so check back throughout May and June to see who will be called on for an acceptance speech.

Sixth Man of the Year

Jason Terry does the JET

Jason Terry may have taken off more in his first season with Boston than many would assume.
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images

July 11, 2012 was the day that Celtics Nation believed it had scored one of the league’s top sixth men. That’s the day that Jason Terry first met the media as a member of the Boston Celtics.

One week later, the team released a statement regarding his signing. Danny Ainge’s comments in that release made it clear that the team expected big things out of the veteran guard.

“Jason is one of the best sixth men in the NBA and his versatility in the backcourt is a great addition to our roster,” Ainge said.

Regardless of what many may think, Terry delivered a very solid season for the Celtics. Believe it or not, his 2012-13 campaign was actually better than his prior season in Dallas, where he became famous for his penchant of hitting big shots.

Terry finished the season as Boston’s fifth-leading scorer, with 10.1 points per game. That’s a steep drop from the 15.1 PPG he put up in 2011-12 with the Mavericks, but there was good reason for that drop. Terry wasn’t Boston’s second option on offense, as he often was with Dallas behind Dirk Nowitzki. That shift in roles, combined with nearly a five-minute drop in playing time a night, led to Terry taking far fewer shots than he had in the past and finishing with the lowest usage rate of his lengthy career.

Despite attempting an average of 5.0 fewer shots per game this season, Terry maintained the standard of efficiency that he has set over his career. In fact, in some areas, he became even better.

Terry’s first season with Boston featured spikes in two key areas: points per touch and true shooting percentage. In essence, points per touch measures a player’s impact when he is involved in the result of an offensive play. It’s a marker of efficiency. True shooting percentage is a weighted statistic that measures a player’s shooting stroke based on different shot attempts (i.e. 3-pointers, 2-pointers and free throws).

This season was a great one for Terry when it came to true shooting percentage. His true shooting percentage of 56.6 percent was his highest mark since the 2008-09 season. He also finished the season with his highest adjusted field goal percentage (53.3 percent) since the 2007-08 season. Both of those marks were tops among Boston’s guards and perimeter-oriented forwards.

Terry is a shooter, so measuring his shooting efficiency is obviously important. Likewise, we’d be remiss not to track his scoring impact. Enter the points per touch (PPT) statistic.

Terry put up the fifth-highest number of his career in 2012-13 by scoring 1.015 PPT. That number is a drastic increase from his prior season in Dallas (0.950 PPT) and is well above his career average of 0.977 PPT. He hadn’t approached 1.015 PPT since the 2008-09 season, when he scored 1.033 PPT for the Mavs.

There’s more. We’ve all heard about how great Doc Rivers is at drawing up after-timeout plays (ATOs). Terry is a big reason why the Celtics were successful at executing those plays this season.

Of Boston’s players who attempted at least 10 shots this season following a timeout (which was the majority of the team), Terry led them all in effective field goal percentage, at 60.3 percent. No one, especially Rivers, will complain about that success rate.

On the surface, Terry’s season may not have seemed as strong as many would have liked. Delve deep into his season, however, and there is plenty of proof that he was even better than the guy who was in Dallas the previous few seasons.

Make no mistake about it: Jason Terry was Jason Terry this season. No matter how you dice it, he was the Celtics’ best shooter. That, combined with his phenomenal energy off of the bench, scores him this season’s Sixth Man of the Year award.