Brooklyn Nets guard Jason Terry is, infamously, no stranger to championship guarantees. His 2010-11 Dallas Mavericks were hardly considered a championship contender – a great team, but nowhere near a Finals lock – entering that particular season, and yet Terry decided to get the Lawrence O’Brien trophy tattooed onto his arm before that championship season even started. It was a bold move, and one that preceded Jet doubling down on his new but aging Boston Celtics club with yet another daring trophy tattoo last summer.
That one didn’t work out that well. Terry has since been traded to those Nets, and he’s found himself smack in the middle of a contentious back and forth between New York’s newest team in Brooklyn, and the famed (if championship-starved) New York Knicks. Perhaps mindful of his one-tattoo losing streak and .500 record in at championship guarantees, Terry took a pretty dismissive swipe at Knick guard J.R. Smith’s contention that his squad would win the title in 2013-14.
Dime: Speaking of this upcoming season, you recently said that you guys have “the formula” to knock off the 2013 NBA champions, the Miami Heat. But there’s also another team in New York with championship aspirations after J.R. Smith recently guaranteed that the Knicks would be crowned in 2014. Talk about the hype going into this new found rivalry.
JT: They would win what? What did he guarantee? They would win what? I didn’t hear that.
Dime: The championship.
JT: They would win the championship?
Dime: Yeah, he said 100 percent guarantee.
JT: The NBA championship?
JT: Right. Maybe the Rucker Park Championship. I don’t know, not the NBA championship.
The Knicks have their merits, and the team was one posterization away from forcing a Game 7 at home last year for a shot at the Eastern Conference finals, but few have the team on the championship radar heading into 2013-14. Shades of Dallas in 2010-11, I suppose.
Terry’s diss also serves a dual purpose. The famed Rucker League is an entertaining watch, but it’s also a bastion of one-on-one ball, with plenty of showboating and mean mugging to go around. It’s fantastic to behold in person, but it’s mainly a summertime exercise.
The Knicks are at their best when they’re utilizing elements of Mike Woodson’s motion offense, but too often the team either shoots itself in or out of games with isolation plays from Smith or All-Star Carmelo Anthony. This works, sometimes, but it’s a dangerous proposition to rely on, and one of the bigger reasons the Knicks have been dumped out of the second round last year and out of the first two rounds the prior two seasons. Smart defenses can load up on the low percentage shot that they know is coming.
Terry’s no stranger to low percentage shots himself, or long range looks early in a possession that can drive both coaches and teammates batty. He’s also had his run-ins with Smith before, one that led directly to an eight-game playoff swoon that saw J.R. shoot just 25 percent from the field. There’s history, here.
Maybe, on his third team in 16 months, in the wake of J.R. Smith’s silliness, Jason Terry has grown a bit. Maybe, as the years move along, he’s dialing back the braggadocio back a little.
Nah. Hopefully not, at least. The Knicks and Nets play four times this season. We wish the NBA could double that number.