Jason Terry finally made his Brooklyn Nets debut on Wednesday night for the first time since being involved in the trade that brought Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce with him to Brooklyn. There was a bit of rust, but he managed to score seven points while shooting 3-of-7, including 1-of-5 behind the arc, with three assists and two rebounds in 24 minutes.
“I thought I felt pretty good, still a little rusty,” Terry said. “You could see that at times. But other than that, it was good to be out there with my teammates. My wind was good, so my conditioning was great. I look forward to getting after it against Miami (on Friday).”
Terry was often the third piece of that trade, more like an afterthought, but while he has been on the bench still recovering from knee surgery, his importance has increased with the team. That’s because of injuries to other players. Deron Williams still has not played a game this preseason, and probably won’t, because of his ankle and nobody knows when Andrei Kirilenko will return as his back spasms will not go away.
With those two players out, Terry’s role increases. Not only is he likely to see more minutes with a lack of one guard and a swingman, but he’s going to be relied upon more for defense as Joe Johnson will be out there even more to make up for D-Will’s absence.
That means that the Nets have a lot riding on the recovery of his knee. Terry, known as an excellent shooter, had his numbers drop last season. After he averaged 17.1 points and 4.9 assists per 36 minutes with a 44.7 field goal percentage in his career, his numbers dropped to 13.5 points and 3.4 assists per 36 minutes with a shooting percentage of 43.4. The Nets, who are going to be forced to rely on Terry early on, good or bad, are hoping that the knee surgery repaired, and not weakened, the knee.
“Nothing,” Terry said after the game when asked if he felt anything in the knee. “I didn’t feel it. And when you’re injured, it’s more mental than physical at this point, so mentally I was good. I was able to make certain moves that I wanted to. I just want to make sure tonight that there are no problems, there’s no swelling, and I should be good to go.”
Terry averaged 26.9 minutes per game last season. That’s probably right around where he’ll be at the end of this season, but early on, with D-Will and Kirilenko out, it’s probably going to be closer to his career average of 33 minutes per game. He felt good after one game, hopefully that keeps up and he’s strong Friday night against the Heat.