Greatest of All-Time Atlanta Hawks Series #16: Jason Terry

Welcome back to the Greatest of All-Time Atlanta Hawks Series, which we introduced yesterday with much fanfare and circumstance (yay!). 

One might ask why we're doing (16) players and the answer is simple: I was inspired to do this series late last season when Sekou Smith asked me on Twitter who my GOAT Hawks were. I ended up rattling off a Top 15, after the acknowledgement that, really, 'Nique was on a different level than them all. So there's why we start with #16.

The Number 16 Greatest of All-Time Atlanta Hawk is: 

Jason Terry

JT spent his first four seasons in the league with the Hawks, instantly hitting his performance stride once he was traded to the Mavericks in 2004. 

We chronicled Jet's tenure with the Birds with his #3 entry this spring of the best of the last decade. Here was the summary of the piece:

We loved Terry's speed, his shot, and his personality. We wish he had some success in the ATL, but he certainly has made up for it in Dallas with the Mavs. His skills, production (4th in PER, 1st in Assist Rate, 1st in Steals Rate), and attitude despite his constantly changing role on the court, having weak coaching, and no veterans to help along the way, endeared himself to THHB and has earned his ranking as the #3 Hawk of the Decade.

 

In terms of his stature among his all-time Atlanta brethren, sadly, his assist numbers still hold up amongst all qualifiers since 1968, as he ranks fourth in both Assist Rate (28.4) and Assists per game (5.5).

You can argue that Terry was the best player on the team during his tenure there, despite getting pushed back and forth from point guard to shooting guard and having to play with some cats who never saw the league against after leaving the ATL. Again, from our Decade post:

A running theme during Terry's tenure as a Hawk was the TV drama-esque question of "Is He or Isn't He" in regards to being a point guard. Bigger point guards were brought in (Emanuel Davis, Boris Diaw among the group) to play with JT so he could he could just focus on scoring and then the team would shift back to Jet playing the point, with Glover at shooting guard. Despite the back and forth, Terry managed to post career highs in Assist Rate, Assists per game, and Total Assists in 2002-2003, finishing in the NBA Top 10 in each of those categories. For the decade, Terry led the Hawks in the same categories.

 

Despite all the losing, and being unsure of a position as he battled for making his own name in the NBA during formative years that involved (3) head coaches in (4) seasons, Terry was the smiling face of Hawks basketball, always talking to the media after the game, even if it was to tip his ceremonial cap to yet another team who came into Philips Arena and walked out with a road win. To do all of that, despite the circus that the Hawks could be at times in his young career, was very noteworthy.

He tirelessly worked in the gym to get better, never shied away from taking the winning shot, and possessed one of the sweetest jump shots the Atlanta Hawks have ever had. He's 16th all-time in Win Shares (29.4), 10th offensively (21.9), and is 12th in PER (17.2).

His stats, his standing in his era and position, and all the other intangibles lands JT was our 16th Greatest of All-Time Atlanta Hawks.

 

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