Affectionately dubbed “Jet” throughout his career, Jason Terry entered Milwaukee as yet another veteran who seemed to cling onto the Jason Kidd aura. They were former teammates after all, lifting the Larry O’Brien trophy together in 2011. Entering 2016-17, as the Milwaukee Bucks tried to pick themselves up after a disappointing season, Jet seemed like the ideal veteran shooter who could bring stability and a “winning culture” to a young team still trying to find its legs. Signing a 1-year, $1.5M deal, Terry was an ideal complement around the arc for Giannis Antetokounmpo.
While not a doorbuster performance for the storied veteran, Terry’s arrival did herald a slight shift in the cache of Milwaukee, perhaps due to the dulling, but still present sheen of Jason Kidd; perhaps due to Giannis Antetokounmpo’s progression into one of the league’s most dominant forces. Either way, compared to some of the bland veteran minimum signings of Bucks’ past (Joel Pryzbilla), Jason Terry seemed as sparkly as a fresh cleaned diamond.
By this point, Jet’s pedigree needs little preamble. He won a title in Dallas, chucking triples in at a 38% rate across his career as the league transformed into requiring more and more of his ilk - gunners with competence. He was coming off two straight years in Houston where he helped them to the Playoffs with between 17-21 minutes on solid volume from deep. But, the Rockets kept flaming out, and Terry’s 3-point percentage in 2015-16 dipped to 35.6% on 3.6 attempts per game. Given his already defense-deficient game, it was very possible he was past the “last legs” stage of his career.
And yet, the Bucks took a chance on him, and he rewarded them with one of the best 3-point percentages of his career. Granted, that 42.7% came on just 2.3 attempts per game (his lowest since the turn of the Millennium), but it still gave gravity to a Milwaukee offense that morphed away from Michael Carter-Williams when they traded him for Tony Snell a few days before the season. The Bucks wanted more shooters spaced around the arc, and Jerryd Bayless’ departure left a void at that position. Terry’s 4.1 points per game don’t really paint a proper picture of his value though. His 3-point attempts were 67% of his shots, second-highest on the team behind Mirza Teletovic, and helped set the tone for how the Bucks would build around Giannis’ interior dominance and Khris Middleton’s Swiss army knife offensive game. Terry’s 59.8% effective field goal percentage was the best of his career, per Cleaning The Glass.
Mastering the background bit player role, Terry opened the floor for other Bucks to succeed. Terry also goes down as one of the on/off darlings of this exercise, a particularly impressive feat during these times given the Bucks’ predilection for mediocrity. Terry had the 2nd best on-court net rating on the team, 4.5, per NBA.com, and the team was -2.3 when he was off the court. That +6.8 net rating differential was 3rd best on the team. Part of that was due to Terry getting paired with Giannis against bench units, a potent combination that whole year. But Terry also injected Milwaukee’s offense with some much-needed movement. Sure, Michael Beasley could move mountains on his own, but Terry consistently knew when and where he should be, as well as where to dish the ball for his teammates. If you’re looking for a prime round-up of this very fact, check out Alex Boeder’s wonderful piece breaking down Terry’s repertoire of pinpoint passing.
Terry’s performance the next year dipped as he rode out the final times of the Kidd-era. His 3-point percentage dropped, he couldn’t quite handle the defensive rotations with the same verve and most importantly, his 3-point shot just didn’t come around, settling in at 34.8% while missing 31 regular season games. But, for that 2016-17 year, his contract clearly belongs on this list, even if on its face 4.1 points per game seems silly for the fifth best contract of the last decade.
But in the context of the silly spending that summer of 2016, with the Bucks absolutely blowing it with the the terrible contract trio of Miles Plumlee, Mirza Teletovic and Matthew Dellavedova, it seems like a small miracle they snatched Jason Terry at such a swell price.
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Even after adding Matthew Dellavedova in free agency, the Bucks still had room to improve in their backcourt rotation. With Rashad Vaughn and Malcolm Brogdon probably not ready for consistent minutes yet, bringing in a solid option like Terry along with Delly, Tyler Ennis, and MCW makes some sense. Terry has averaged just over 18 minutes a game the past three seasons, and won’t be expected to do much more than spot up (he hasn’t shot worse than 35% from three since 2003-2004) and make a play here and there, something that the Bucks still need more of throughout the roster.
Brew Hoop Best Contract of the Last Decade Ranking
8. Zaza Pachulia (2013; 3-year, $15.6M)
7. Mike Dunleavy Jr. (2011; 2-year, $7.5M)
6. Jerryd Bayless (2014; 2-year, $6M)
5. Jason Terry (2016; 1-year, $1.5M)
What is the WORST contract out of this bunch?
This poll is closed
2015 Khris Middleton (5-years, $70M)
2016 Giannis Extension (4-years, $100M)
2018 Brook Lopez (1-year, $3.3M)
2018 Pat Connaughton (2-years, $3.3M)
This poll will close at 8 pm CST on Sunday, June 21.