Jason Terry Should Start for the Dallas Mavericks

Keith L.Correspondent IJuly 16, 2010

DALLAS - APRIL 21:  Guard Jason Terry #31 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts after scoring a three point shot against the San Antonio Spurs in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on April 21, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTO TO USER:  User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Caron Butler must be moved to the Dallas bench.

Jason Terry must start for the Mavericks.

There are only two reasons to justify this: Terry is a legitimate knock-down shooter and Butler and Rodrigue Beaubois can create a consistent bench unit.

Dallas' starting five currently consists of Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Brendan Haywood, Shawn Marion, and Butler.

Dirk and Kidd can stretch the floor, but in the half court Dirk needs to post up to initiate the offense.

When teams double Dirk, Kidd is usually there to make something happen with the ball.

It has been an effective strategy, but there problems with the other starters.

The problems arise because Haywood, Marion, and Butler aren’t able to properly space the floor.

Haywood gets a pass since he is a center.

Marion gets a pass since he is the team's best perimeter defender.

Butler, on the other hand, likes to play in the right wing and corner, thereby partially occupying Nowitzki’s niche on the floor.

This limits Dirk’s primary options to creating a shot for himself, passing to Kidd, or letting Butler isolate in the right corner.

I like one of those options, I’m impartial to another, and I am against taking touches from Dirk.

This is where Terry can make a difference.

Terry’s stats as a starter last season were impressive: 19.5 PPG, 4.6 Ast, 45.5 FG%, and 44.6 3pt FG%.

With Terry playing off Dirk, you would get last season's highest fourth quarter scoring tandem in the NBA and many more options on offense.

While the Jet isn’t a true point guard, he is enough of an offensive threat that can run an effective pick and roll with Dirk.

Cheat on Terry, Dirk gets an open jump shot or can draw in defenders.

Cheat on Dirk, Terry gets a lane to the basket and can score or pass to cutters.

Dallas gets all of this without giving up the ability to isolate Dirk on the right side.

Terry gives Dirk room because he can hit from anywhere on the court and bring defenders outside of the paint, opening the lane for Dirk to drive.

To clarify the second point, Terry’s catch and shoot ability allows for Haywood and Marion to sets screens further away from the basket to either give him a clean look or to cause a defensive mismatch.

This makes it hard to call a double team because of the constant defensive rotations on Terry and the screeners and Kidd still being a shooting threat.

This is all possible before even looking at the new bench unit.

Butler could become the top sixth man in the league and would slide over to his natural small forward position.

Butler gets to work his isolation game against lesser opponents without causing spacing problems for Dirk and has enough ability to be the primary ball handler, letting Beaubois play his natural shooting guard spot.

This marks a huge step up from last year’s bench, who would live and die by Terry’s ability to create his own shot any given night and anyone else who would sporadically show up.

With Butler, the bench gets a true go to guy who can create good opportunities for himself.

With Beaubois, they get a game changer who can operate anywhere on the floor, break ankles, drive his way to the basket, and ignite scoring runs much like Tony Parker in the playoffs last year.

Butler’s presence will also eliminate the defensive deficiencies caused last year by having to bring in JJ Barea or a tired Kidd to stabilize the second unit, which happened all too many times because Terry thought he was building a house.

This then allows for players such as Dominique Jones, Ian Mahinmi, and possibly Jeremy Lin, who are all decent defenders, to get some burn outside of garbage time.

If these guys get in trouble, Butler or Roddy can get the ball and bail them out of mistakes.

This results in a more effective starting unit, and more effective bench unit.

But are there negatives?

What could be the downside of starting Terry and benching Butler?

Butler may get mad, but he will be playing near starter minutes anyways and will probably close out games like Terry had been these past few years.

That’s the only reason I can think of, and since the positives outweigh the negatives, head coach Rick Carlisle must make this happen.


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