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Jason Terry is prepared for takeoff this season.With the usual caveat that preseason statistics should be taken with a
grain cup of salt, there were a couple of surprises atop Boston's individual defensive leaders after the eight-game preseason slate.
According to Synergy Sports data, Kris Joseph (0.36 points allowed per play, 96th percentile) and Jason Terry (0.538 ppp, 90th percentile) were Boston's top individual defenders over the limited sample that is exhibition play. Joseph, a rookie second-round draft pick, limited opponents to 19 percent shooting (4 of 21) and only nine points over 25 plays. Even if his numbers were aided by running against opposing third-teamers, it's still a solid preseason for a player whose down-the-road potential appears to have earned him a final roster spot with the team.
Terry, whose reputation is centered on his bench scoring, performed admirably as an individual defender. Before you chalk it up to extended run with the first unit, it's worth noting that Kevin Garnett (0.829 ppp, 43rd percentile), Paul Pierce (0.923 ppp, 28th), and Rajon Rondo (0.72 ppp, 63rd) all performed below typical expectations. Terry limited opponents to 26.7 percent shooting (12 of 45 shooting) and, maybe most amazingly, did not commit a single foul that resulted in free throws.
Like all of Boston's guards, Terry struggled at times, but he is learning a new system. His individual numbers suggest that, despite his offensive-minded reputation, Terry can be a capable defender on a good team.
The Celtics as a team allowed 0.864 points per play this preseason, which ranked 10th in the league entering Tuesday's exhibition play. Not surprisingly, Boston's biggest struggles came in defending bigs in the pick-and-roll and cutters.